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UPDATE: See end of this post for a statement sent to me by Don Siegelman

[You can donate to Don Siegelman's legal defense fund here, via paypal or by sending a check by mail. Also, writes Don Siegelman, "the U S Congress must be encouraged to vote Rove in Contempt to uncover the truth! Please log on now to to send your message to Congress."]

I've done a number of fundraisers here on the Daily Kos, and I have continually been impressed by the financial generosity and commitment of energy and time put out, by this community, towards the common good. Raising money for Don Siegelman's legal defense is perhaps the worthiest cause I have taken up.

Pam Miles is an Alabama activist who has worked tirelessly on Siegelman's behalf. Yesterday, via Pam's list serve, I received an email with an urgent plea:

Last year Don Siegelman spent the holidays in a cold and lonely cell, far from home. It could happen again.  

Don  was not a wealthy man to begin with and now through no fault of his own, he owes millions of dollars in legal fees. Having no income during the nine months he was in prison, plus not being able to work full-time since his release, has caused financial stress for his family.

A donation of $5, $10, $50 or more  from any of your readers can help him get get past the hard times he and his family are going through - and it will let him know that we still care.

below: short ad for Huntsville, Alabama Channel 19 exclusive interview with Don Siegelman, to be aired tonight, 10 PM EST

[You can donate to Don Siegelman's legal defense fund here, via paypal or by sending a check by mail.]

With your help, and perhaps the help of other big political blogs, I believe we can raise at least enough to cover Don's immediate financial crisis, to stave off financial catastrophe. Your help might even help, indirectly, Don Siegelman to run, in 2010, for the Alabama Governor's seat he was forced from, in 2003, by an apparent Karl Rove-engineered plot.

Siegelman's fight for justice is our fight as well.  

From 1999 to 2003 Don Siegelman was the popular Democratic Governor of Alabama... until what a bipartisan array of politicians including Wesley Clarke and Republican Former US Attorney General Richard Thornburgh have criticized as a politically motivated effort, tied to Karl Rove and also connected to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, that convicted Siegelman of dubious felony charges and sent him to federal prison. [ you can read and watch CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Time, Rolling Stone and New York Times coverage of Don Siegelman's story, at Don's website ]


A bipartisan group of 52 former states attorneys general have filed a legal brief on Siegelman's behalf, in the appeals case to come before the 11th Circuit Court this December 9th.

But even if Don Siegelman is exonerated rather than thrown back in federal prison the legal fees for Don's years-long legal battle has consumed his entire retirement saving account plus an additional borrowed $900,000.

As Don Siegelman states, in footage from an exclusive interview to be fully aired Tuesday November 25th 10 PM EST on Channel 19 News, if they can do it to a state governor they can do it to you and I, or anyone.

As Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane eloquently write,

For most Americans, the very concept of political prisoners is remote and exotic, a practice that is associated with third-world dictatorships but is foreign to the American tradition. The idea that a prominent politician -- a former state governor -- could be tried on charges that many observers consider to be trumped-up, convicted in a trial that involved numerous questionable procedures, and then hauled off to prison in shackles immediately upon sentencing would be almost unbelievable.

But there is such a politician: Don Siegelman, Democratic governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003. Starting just a few weeks after he took office, Siegelman was targeted by an investigation launched by his political opponents and escalated from the state to the federal level by Bush Administration appointees in 2001. [full Raw Story investigation with timeline, on the Siegelman prosecution]

[below: CBS story on Don Siegelman's imprisonment and legal battle]

Pam Miles is the Alabama political activist who, perhaps more than any other person or agency, has drawn public, media and political attention to the Siegelman case.

When I met her at Netroots Nation 2008, Pam told me about how she had come to personally know Don Siegelman and his family, and work for Don's gubernatorial campaign. After Siegelman was imprisoned, Pam Miles got to work publicizing his case. She joined huge numbers of Net forums, then she built what is now a large and influential email list that has expanded to cover political topics beyond the Siegelman case.

Pam has my deepest respect for her tenacity and refusal to submit to the regime of political corruption that has settled over Alabama during the years of George W. Bush's presidency.

[Statement From Don Siegelman]

I am now engaged in two important fights: One for my own freedom and the other to see that Karl Rove in brought to justice. I need your financial help to keep these fights going.

The government has reportedly spent over 40 million dollars to prosecute me. I have pulled virtually everything out of my life's saving to fight these false charges. I need you to give generously.  My Legal Defense Trust Fund can take donations of corporate, PAC, foundation or personal money of any size.

While I am fighting for my own freedom, the U S Congress must be encouraged to vote Rove in Contempt to uncover the truth! Please log on now to to send your message to Congress.

This fight must be won to unravel the injustices that have been perpetrated against our democracy.

With your help, Karl Rove and his accomplices will be held accountable for their abuse of power.

Thank you,

Don Siegelman

Governor of Alabama 1999-2003

[You can donate to Don Siegelman's legal defense fund here, via paypal or by sending a check by mail.]

Originally posted to Troutfishing on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:24 AM PST.

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