Justice Department Withholds Evidence Of Gov. Siegelman's Political Prosecution: Report

 

FreeDon.org, Report: Justice Department Withholds Evidence Of Gov. Siegelman's Political Prosecution, Volunteer staff, March 4, 2015. Volunteer advocates for imprisoned Democratic former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman urged President Obama for clemency and the Justice Department to disclose evidence withheld since before Siegelman's 2006 trial on corruption charges. The requests came on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" Bridge Crossing Jubilee civil rights march in Selma, Alabama featuring a speech by President Obama March 7, with several other days of civil rights activities. Adam Zagorin of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) was quoted as reporting: "New evidence related to one of the most controversial public corruption cases in recent years, the 2006 conviction of Alabama's former Democratic Governor...indicates that Department of Justice prosecutors...were thinking and acting in partisan terms when they probed the governor's administration."

The supporters raised a number of questions, listed below, and quoted Siegelman as stating: "The big question is: Why the Justice Department refuses to turn over exculpatory evidence? I fear this is not an isolated case, but symptomatic of larger, more pervasive injustice." Siegelman has asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for a new trial or to order the Department of Justice to allow discovery. Among the questions raised in today's news release:

• Why has the Department of Justice refused to turn this critical evidence over to Siegelman's defense counsel?

• Why doesn't the Justice Department release all documents that support Siegelman's contention of political motivation?

• Why does the Justice Department refuse to turn over emails that prove that Siegelman's prosecution was political?

• Why is the Department of Justice fighting Siegelman's Freedom of Information Act filed in 2006?

• Why was a Justice Department whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes, fired after she came forward with evidence that members of Canary's prosecutorial team "cajoled" and "pressured" a witness to conform his testimony?

See also, DonSiegelman.org, 'Killing Atticus Finch' selected for the Jubilee Film Festival line-up this year at the Selma 50th Anniversary Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Sharron Williams, Feb. 28, 2015 (12 min. video, directed by Steve Wimberly). The level of political corruption and backroom deals by former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's rivals are truly staggering, and remain unknown to most of the American public, and the litany of judicial abuses inside the courtroom are even more troubling. They include judge shopping, jury tampering, illegal campaign contributions, poisoning the jury pool, false charges, withholding evidence, and witness tampering - all the elements needed to bypass the checks and balances of our court system, and subvert the rule of law.

Don SiegelmanFreeDon.org, Report: Justice Department Withholds Evidence Of Gov. Siegelman's Political Prosecution, Volunteer staff, March 4, 2015. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march in Selma, Alabama featuring a speech by President Obama, volunteer advocates for imprisoned Democratic former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman issued a press release urging the president for clemency and the Justice Department to disclose evidence withheld since before Siegelman's 2006 trial on corruption charges. The release began by quoting Adam Zagorin of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) as reporting: "New evidence related to one of the most controversial public corruption cases in recent years, the 2006 conviction of Alabama's former Democratic Governor...indicates that Department of Justice prosecutors...were thinking and acting in partisan terms when they probed the governor's administration." The supporters raised a number of questions, listed below, and quoted Siegelman as stating: "The big question is: Why the Justice Department refuses to turn over exculpatory evidence? I fear this is not an isolated case, but symptomatic of larger, more pervasive injustice."  Among the questions raised:

• Why has the Department of Justice refused to turn this critical evidence over to Siegelman's defense counsel?

• Why doesn't the Justice Department release all documents that support Siegelman's contention of political motivation?

• Why does the Justice Department refuse to turn over emails that prove that Siegelman's prosecution was political?

• Why is the Department of Justice fighting Siegelman's Freedom of Information Act filed in 2006?

• Why was a Justice Department whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes, fired after she came forward with evidence that members of Canary's prosecutorial team "cajoled" and "pressured" a witness to conform his testimony?

Siegelman's lawyers are working pro bono. They are Gregory Craig, former White Counsel under President Obama, and Clifford Sloan, assistant White House Counsel under President Clinton. They have asked the 11th Circuit court of Appeals for a new trial or to order the Department of Justice to allow discovery.

 

FreeDon.org, Justice Department Withholds Evidence Of Gov. Siegelman's Political Prosecution, March 4, 2015.

Adam Zagorin, of the Project On Government Oversight, wrote December 11, 2014:  "New evidence related to one of the most controversial public corruption cases in recent years, the 2006 conviction of Alabama's former Democratic Governor...indicates that Department of Justice prosecutors...were thinking and acting in partisan terms when they probed the governor's administration."

In this high profile political prosecution, the Department of Justice has been caught, hiding exculpatory evidence...evidence that prosecutors had political motives in going after Don Siegelman, Alabama's last Democratic Governor in more than twenty-five years.

By all accounts, "Don Siegelman was a Democrat they just couldn't beat fair and square." That's what Republican Grant Woods, former Attorney General of Arizona and Co-Chair of Senator John McCain's Presidential Campaign told Scott Pelley of CBS 60 Minutes, February 24th, 2008.

Also in 2008, Governor Siegelman petitioned for a new trial and discovery based on the fact that Leura Canary, the US Attorney, whose husband, Bill Canary, an associate of Karl Rove, was being paid by Siegelman's opponent, to defeat him.

The US Attorney's husband, Bill Canary, a noted national Republican political operative, ran Siegelman's opponent's campaign. Now evidence has surfaced from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department has been hording evidence that supports Don Siegelman's 2008 motion for a new trial, that his prosecution was politically motivated. According to the December report by the Project On Government Oversight: "...a federal prosecutor emailed the son and campaign manager of Siegelman's principal Republican opponent updating him on the confidential probe, according to a Justice Department document obtained by the Project On Government Oversight..."

The evidence, still being sealed by the Department of Justice, is a December, 2002, email from the lead prosecutor in Governor Siegelman's case, an email that was sent to Rob Riley, the son of Governor Siegelman's 2002 Republican opponent, Republican Congressman Bob Riley. During the election Siegelman was besieged by Republican prosecutors and state media announcing a state and federal investigation first by Karl Rove's client, the state AG, and then by Rove's friend's wife, the U.S. Attorney whose husband, Bill Canary, was running Congressman Riley's campaign along with the Congressman's son, Rob. Despite damaging media coverage of the Republican led investigations, Siegelman was declared the winner, but votes were changed after midnight, Republicans claiming that a "computer glitch" was responsible for Siegelman's earlier vote totals. University researchers said the "glitch" was a clear case of Republican electronic vote stealing.

Siegelman's call for a recount was denied by the state Attorney General, Rove's client, whose illegal certification declared Riley the winner. Governor Siegelman had been touted as a possible dark horse candidate for President, by the national business journal, The Kiplinger Letter, (March 28, 2001). Siegelman first needed to win re-election in 2002. After his votes mysteriously disappeared in the "computer glitch" and he was denied a recount, Siegelman bowed out, feeling he was in a "political catch-22", but determined to run again. In 2006, one month before the election he was brought to trial by the US Attorney, Leura Canary, the wife of his Republican opponent's campaign manager. According to then state Republican Party Chairman, Marty Connors, there were discussions as to whether the investigation should be dropped since Congressman Riley was declared the winner.

According to Chip Hill, "I heard Mr. Connors tell the Governor: 'Governor, I am sorry this has happened to you, I told them they should just drop it after the election.'” According to Mr. Hill the brief conversation took place while the three were waiting in line to clear TSA security at Baltimore's International Airport in 2006. In 2007, a Republican lawyer who did opposition research for Siegelman's opponent described to the House Judiciary Committee a conversation she had with Rob Riley, son of Siegelman's opponent. Dana Jill Simpson told the Committee and Time Magazine (June 1, 2007) that Rob had described Siegelman "...like a cockroach. You can hit him with your shoe at night, think he's dead, then wake up the next morning and he's crawled off. What are we going to do?" In the 2002 email, the Assistant U.S. Attorney leading the Siegelman prosecution, he says that he felt "thwarted" and that it had been "frustrating to me and a small group of like minded conservative prosecutors." The email went to Siegelman's opponent's son, Rob Riley, who ran his father's campaign along with the husband of the Bush appointed U.S. Attorney.

With so many red flags, there is no wonder why there has been a public outcry for justice in this case, and an outcry for transparency by the Department of Justice. 113 former State Attorneys General and noted U.S. Constitutional scholars decried the injustice in a brief to the US Supreme Court.

Recently, former Republican prosecutor, John Farmer, now the Dean of Rutgers Law School wrote: "Even Senator John McCain acknowledged:' rewarding supporters to cushy jobs in the Caribbean is something both parties do.' Fine. But if this time-honored tradition of appointing ambassadors and other officials based largely on political support is so obviously permissible, the question that should trouble the president's conscience is why, if he is willing to make such appointments, he is also content to leave people like Don Siegelman in prison."

The Project on Government Oversight states: "The DOJ letter also offers no indication of why the prosecutor emailed Riley in the first place, and on whose instructions, if anyone's. Nor does it say whether Riley replied or took any subsequent action. It does not explain how the 'small group of conservative minded prosecutors' fit into the picture, or why the prosecutor injected his own political leanings and those of his colleagues into the matter."

• Why has the Department of Justice refused to turn this critical evidence over to Siegelman's defense counsel?

• Why doesn't the Justice Department release all documents that support Siegelman's contention of political motivation?

• Why does the Justice Department refuse to turn over emails that prove that Siegelman's prosecution was political?

• Why is the Department of Justice fighting Siegelman's Freedom of Information Act filed in 2006?

• Why was a Justice Department whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes, fired after she came forward with evidence that members of Canary's prosecutorial team "cajoled" and "pressured" a witness to conform his testimony?

Governor Siegelman, contacted in federal prison where he is serving a 78-month sentence, said:

"The big question is: Why the Justice Department refuses to turn over exculpatory evidence? I fear this is not an isolated case, but symptomatic of larger, more pervasive injustice."

Governor Siegelman's lawyers are a pair of powerhouses out of Washington, DC, working pro b ono. Greg Craig, former White Counsel under President Obama, and Clifford Sloan, assistant White House Counsel under President Clinton.

To restore public confidence, to restore the public's sense of justice, Governor Siegelman's lawyers have asked the 11th Circuit court of Appeals for a new trial or to order the Department of Justice to allow discovery.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 
 

 

Related News Coverage

FreeDon.org, Report: Justice Department Withholds Evidence Of Gov. Siegelman's Political Prosecution, Volunteer staff, March 4, 2015. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march in Selma, Alabama featuring a speech by President Obama, volunteer advocates for imprisoned Democratic former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman issued a press release urging the president for clemency and the Justice Department to disclose evidence withheld since before Siegelman's 2006 trial on corruption charges. The release began by quoting Adam Zagorin of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) as reporting: "New evidence related to one of the most controversial public corruption cases in recent years, the 2006 conviction of Alabama's former Democratic Governor...indicates that Department of Justice prosecutors...were thinking and acting in partisan terms when they probed the governor's administration." The supporters raised a number of questions, listed below, and quoted Siegelman as stating: "The big question is: Why the Justice Department refuses to turn over exculpatory evidence? I fear this is not an isolated case, but symptomatic of larger, more pervasive injustice."  Among the questions raised:

• Why has the Department of Justice refused to turn this critical evidence over to Siegelman's defense counsel?

• Why doesn't the Justice Department release all documents that support Siegelman's contention of political motivation?

• Why does the Justice Department refuse to turn over emails that prove that Siegelman's prosecution was political?

• Why is the Department of Justice fighting Siegelman's Freedom of Information Act filed in 2006?

• Why was a Justice Department whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes, fired after she came forward with evidence that members of Canary's prosecutorial team "cajoled" and "pressured" a witness to conform his testimony?

Siegelman's lawyers are working pro bono. They are Gregory Craig, former White Counsel under President Obama, and Clifford Sloan, assistant White House Counsel under President Clinton. They have asked the 11th Circuit court of Appeals for a new trial or to order the Department of Justice to allow discovery.

DonSiegelman.org, 'Killing Atticus Finch' selected for the Jubilee Film Festival line-up this year at the Selma 50th Anniversary Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Sharron Williams, Feb. 28, 2015 (12 min. video, directed by Steve Wimberly). The level of political corruption and backroom deals by former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's rivals are truly staggering, and remain unknown to most of the American public, and the litany of judicial abuses inside the courtroom are even more troubling. They include judge shopping, jury tampering, illegal campaign contributions, poisoning the jury pool, false charges, withholding evidence, and witness tampering - all the elements needed to bypass the checks and balances of our court system, and subvert the rule of law.