In my recent rant about the August 3rd sentencing of Don Siegelman, kossack HappyinNM suggested I start a petition asking President Obama to pardon Gov. Siegelman – which I did and added to my post as an update. Over 200 of you signed it. Thank you very much.
Unbeknownst to me, Don's daughter Dana had already started one. She contacted me and asked if I would close mine and throw my support to hers. Of course I did so. I then emailed everyone who had signed my petition asking that they take a moment to sign hers (and that link seems broken). Sorry to ask twice, but these things happen - especially when you shoot from the hip as I sometimes do.
Some people remarked that they didn't know much about the details of this case. My bad. I shouldn't have assumed that everyone already knew about all of this. Here is some helpful background:
Check Out What Karl Rove Did To Don Siegelman
Rachel Maddow: Karl Rove must pay for Don Siegelman
The following is excellent information on the case posted as a comment in my diary by kossack CIndyCasella:
60 minutes on holes in Siegelman caseFinally, some folks wanted to make a big deal about Don's statement in court, admitting his error. This was and is my response:
52 former State Attorney Generals of both parties wrote a letter requesting Congress investigate whether this case against Siegelman was pursued not because of a crime, but because of politics.
Former Republican Attorney General of Arizona Grant Woods said he has not seen a case with this many red flags on it that point to an injustice being done and believes that Republicans targeted Siegelman, because he was an Alabama Democrat that they could not beat fair and square.
The first court case against Siegelman, an alleged Medicaid scam, was tossed out, because it had no merit.
Whistleblower, Jill Simpson, a Republican lawyer from Alabama, came forward to tell how Karl Rove asked her to do Opposition Research, spying on Siegelman to photograph him if he had a lover in a compromising position, but after several months, she didn't see him cheat on his wife. She said that the Siegelman prosecution is part of a 5 year secret campaign to ruin Siegelman. Later, after she testified under oath to Congress, her house was set on fire and a private investigator tried to drive her off the road.
After the case was thrown out, the Department of Justice(?!) investigated Siegelman to find something else, even subpoenaing his brother's bank records. Instead of prosecuting a crime, they were investigating a citizen to find a crime to pin on him.
The main testimony on which the new bribery charges are based against Siegelman was a vivid story from a former aid, who claimed to see Siegelman walk out of a meeting with a check in his hand. The witness was convicted of extortion, and his testimony against Siegelman gave him a lighter sentence. The check was actually not cut until days later after the meeting, an inconsistency in the testimony, which was a problem for prosecuters. The notes on the more than 70 interviews with this witness have not been made available to Siegelman's lawyers, which is against Siegelman's basic rights and is required by law.
The "crime" Siegelman was found guilty of is equivalent to giving a donor an ambassadorship and is done regularly by politicians without prosecution, because it isn't a crime, but politics. The quid pro quo that Siegelman was accused of giving the donor to his education lottery campaign was reappointing him to a committee on which he already served under 3 previous governors.
The judge who just sentenced him had a 43.75% ownership of Doss Aviation, granted millions in government contracts from George W. Bush administration and who was appointed by George W. Bush (remember how he fired federal prosecutors who didn't do his bidding?). This judge was being investigated by Siegelman in 2003, because a Missouri attorney had alleged fraud and asked that Judge Fuller be impeached. Clearly, Fuller had a conflict of interest, and should have recused himself from a case involving a former governor who had attempted to investigate him for crimes.
Nuts in a vice.I hope you find some of this information helpful, and I hope you will join me in this important struggle for justice.
Statements made under such duress mean nothing. From Don's email, last week:This may be my last chance to email you for some time. I am going back before U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to be re-sentenced this Friday, August the 3rd at 9:00 AM (CST) at the federal courthouse in Montgomery.
Your friendship and support throughout this incredibly long, painful, and costly ordeal has meant so much to my family and me.
This battle for justice within the court system comes to a close. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear my last appeal even though 113 former state Attorneys General and many of the nation's top Constitutional Law Professors joined in my appeal saying that the law is so unclear that any contributor and candidate is "at risk of being indicted and convicted..."
I served nine awful months in federal prison, thirty days in total isolation in solitary confinement, three weeks in a maximum-security prison side-by-side with hardened criminals. Every step of this fight for justice over the past nine years has been devastating to my family and me.
I have lost my livelihood, most of my assets, and my freedom.
I am now a convicted felon and have lost my right to vote and run for public office. I can no longer practice law. Regardless, I remain committed to our system of justice; flawed though it may be, it is still one of the best. It is up to us to make it better.