So Rove resigns on a Sunday, not a Friday. Clearly "spending more time with my family" and "Bartlett pushed me out" are silly excuses. The real reason had to be something big, something compelling, something legal. Now Leahy may be a threat, but that is controllable. "Executive privilege" or what used to be called the Divine Right of Kings, will keep Leahy away, specially with a pliant Supreme Court. So what is not controllable that just got hotter? Here is Harpers:
At the center is an affidavit which exposes a Republican political cabal aimed at using the machinery of prosecution to bring down the Democratic governor as the first step in an effort to retake the Statehouse in Montgomery for the GOP
So, just like Al Capone, Rove has been felled by the smallest of his peccadillos.
It's a story of intrigue, injustice and backroom influence peddling:
The case has now attracted attention across the United States and around the world. Forty-four former attorneys general from across the nation—Democrats and Republicans—have petitioned Congress asking that a special investigation be undertaken to examine the now obvious gross irregularities associated with the case.
Here is the case in a nutshell:
In a bizarre twist in an increasingly inexplicable case, prosecutors in proceedings in Montgomery today argued to federal district court judge Mark Fuller that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman should be sentenced to thirty years in prison on account of accusations they presented to the jury, and the jury rejected. Even more remarkably, Fuller appears prepared to accept these arguments.
And what about Rove? Here's Time magazine:
Now Karl Rove, the President's top political strategist, has been implicated in the controversy. A longtime Republican lawyer in Alabama swears she heard a top G.O.P. operative in the state say that Rove "had spoken with the Department of Justice" about "pursuing" Siegelman, with help from two of Alabama's U.S. attorneys.
But that is nothing new for Rove, it seems:
A Texas Republican campaign manager I know, who cut his teeth working in the Lone Star State, and often with Karl Rove, told me that Rove owed his reputation to two things: "direct-mail marketing and an uncanny ability to manipulate federal prosecutors into going after the officeholder his client was trying to unseat."
Ah, but the judge Mr. Fuller has been entirely fair:
The case was conducted in a strange manner. Judge Fuller allowed the prosecution to present their evidence more than once—through direct testimony and then under the guise of preparing for the use of demonstrative evidence. Later, at the conclusion of the case, this evidence was disallowed. But when defense objected to this abusive practice, their motions were overruled. In fact, from the outset of the case Judge Fuller disallowed virtually every motion brought by defense counsel. But the cumulative effect of Fuller’s rulings was that the prosecution was allowed to multiply and amplify its evidence–a disreputable and unfair advantage that Fuller gave to the prosecution.
Note that Mr. Fuller is former member of the Executive Committee of the Alabama Republican party and:
"Fuller’s designation of his judicial chambers as his address in connection with corporate registrations," said Nan Aron of the Washington-based judicial oversight organization Alliance for Justice, "clearly runs afoul of the rules, as does his retention of any office, including as agent for service of process."
And somehow, people associated with the Governor have had strange things happen to them:
Ask Dana Jill Simpson, the Rainsville Republican lawyer who notes that as soon as she told some friends that she had resolved to file an affidavit exposing what was going on in the Siegelman case, unfortunate accidents started happening. Like a fire at her home, and a brush with a motor vehicle operated by an off-duty law enforcement officer that resulted in her car being totaled. Well, maybe these were just accidents. In fact, Simpson seems convinced they were. But it’s clear that she has some vague and lingering doubts. And then, following the sentencing phase of the Siegelman trial, his lawyer, Susan James, reports that her office was ransacked. These weren’t your ordinary vandals, it seems. They left computers, television sets, champagne and bottles of alcohol untouched. And they focused with laser-like intensity on her client files.
But Mr. Conyers is on the case:
(July 17)[House Committee Chair] Conyers, D-Mich., said in a press release that the committee is "exploring claims that (Siegelman’s) recent conviction, among others, may have been a part of a pattern of selective, political prosecutions by a number of U.S. Attorneys across the country.
Ah, but so has Gonzo:
Department of Justice is about to announce a decision to move Gov. Siegelman from the Georgia facility where he is now being held to another in Texarkana, on the Texas-Arkansas frontier. Why? This will make it much more difficult for Siegelman to confer with his family and attorneys as preparations are launched for the Judiciary Committee proceedings.
So here is a case where Rove cannot hide behind "Executive Privilege", is clearly involved according to the affidavit, and who may have been or soon will be "invited" to Congress by Conyers. Read the whole story at Harpers.org by Scott Horton, whose work I am merely parroting! Could this be the reason Rove resigned?
UPDATE: I was shocked to see the following in the comments (from Larisa):
I have been communicating... with Gov. Siegelman's daughter. She has asked me to help so I have been looking at the case. the house fire and car accident are not the only strange things going on. In addition, the daughter is afraid for her own safety...she has left the country.