Part III: Beck’s DOJ Backers Make Their Case

Parts I and II of this opinion series outlined why President Obama made a mistake in nominating prominent Alabama attorney George L. Beck as U.S. attorney for the state’s middle district. Part III below showcases the case for confirmation by Beck’s backers. Coming this afternoon in Part IV: Next steps for those not convinced that this nomination is in the public interest.

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director’s Blog

“For his diligence and relentless pursuit of justice, I have named George L. Beck to serve as a U.S. Attorney,” announced President Obama on March 31. “I am confident he will serve the people of Alabama with distinction.” The White House noted that Beck has been a shareholder of Capell & Howard, P.C. since 2004, and began his career as an associate in 1966, when he enlisted in the Alabama Army National Guard on his way to retiring as a colonel in 2001.

The nomination followed a recommendation by the federal nominating committee of the Alabama Democratic Party, and more than two years of ineffectual state and national efforts by Democrats to find a consensus, centrist candidate who could satisfy varied Democratic interests without incurring fatal opposition from Alabama’s Republican U.S. Senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.

Under Mark Kennedy, left, a new state party chairman installed after the party’s rout in November’s elections, Democrats ultimately picked what their leaders regarded as a safe pick for the powerful regional post running federal criminal and civil litigation from the Justice Department office based in the state capital of Montgomery. 

An appointment would finally ease out from office the incumbent Republican U.S. attorney, Leura Canary, who was nominated  by President Bush a decade ago after mariage to one of Karl Rove's best friends. She remains in power despite a track record arguably making her the most notorious federal prosecutor in the nation, albeit one ostensibly well-regarded by top Justice Department colleagues.

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Obama DOJ Part II: Bailey-Beck Siegelman Frame-up


Part I of this opinion series outlined on April 6 why President Obama made a mistake in nominating prominent Alabama attorney George L. Beck as U.S. attorney for the state’s middle district. Part II below amplifies why Beck’s role in the federal prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman creates huge conflicts for Beck that are against the public interest.

Two videos, one from June 2007 and another just seven months later in 2008, illustrate why George Beck is such a bad choice as the Obama nominee to run Alabama’s troubled middle district office in the state capital of Montgomery.

On June 29, 2007, Alabama Public Television's "For the Record" show hosted a panel of reporters interviewing Beck as they sought in-depth analysis regarding that day’s federal court sentencing of Democratic former Alabama Gov. Siegelman and his co-defendant, Republican businessman Richard Scrushy.

Beck was not sure about some of the facts surrounding his client and key prosecution witness Nick Bailey. But Beck knew enough to vouch vehemently for Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller. “None whatsoever!” was Beck’s response to a question about whether he had any doubts about Fuller’s fairness.

By the time of a Feb. 24, 2008 investigation of the case by CBS 60 Minutes, however, one of the nation’s most popular television programs would inform the world that Beck and Fuller let the government witness Bailey be coached and/or coerced by prosecutors up to 70 times, without providing legally required details to the defense to enable pretrial preparations.

See for yourself during the show narrated by Scott Pelley Did Ex-Alabama Governor Get A Raw Deal?

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Senate Must Grill Tainted Alabama DOJ Nominee: Part I

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog


President Obama ended more than two years of high-profile White House indecision March 31 by naming the prominent Alabama attorney George L. Beck as his nominee to become U.S. attorney for the state’s Montgomery-based middle district. Despite an impressive career overall, Beck is a horrible choice because he was a compliant defense attorney in the notorious prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman’s, the state’s leading Democrat. Beck’s role in that travesty further destroys public confidence in that long-troubled DOJ office. At the minimum if confirmed, Beck must recuse himself and all of the most prominent staff at DOJ's Montgomery offices from the Siegelman case and every spin-off public corruption probe. The more logical outcome, however, is for the Senate Judiciary Committee to grill Beck, right, and other relevant witnesses to bring out all relevant facts, and then block Beck’s nomination because of his conflict of interest.

Our Justice Integrity Project, among many others, has documented how the Bush Justice Department framed Siegelman via the current Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney Leura Canary and her subordinates. The prosecutors did this in part by pressuring Beck’s client Nick Bailey, whose torment and coerced testimony were enabled by a biased Republican trial judge, Mark E. Fuller. Fuller hated Siegelman, according to our research. We documented this in a 2009 investigatory story that the Huffington Post front-paged, entitled, "Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge,’ Evidence Shows." Fuller himself had no response when we asked him for comment, which helps underscore why the Justice Department and Senate need to have inquiries above suspicion.

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Court Slams Kerik Appeal….But Seeing Is Believing

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

A New York federal appeals court last week rejected former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik’s claims of unfairness when his judge sentenced him to four years in prison for tax and related charges. But I was an eye-witness to the unfairness to Kerik during his sentencing in New York on Feb. 18, 2010. Kerik, a career law enforcer much-honored for valor as a city police detective, has described himself as petrified during the proceedings for fear of what the judge was doing. Kerik is portrayed immediately afterward at right with his wife, Hala, in a photo by Maxine Susseles, with another of her photos below.

Even after I reviewed the appellate court opinion, the arrogance and unfairness of the sentencing judge, Stephen Robinson, remains shocking to me. Seeing this unfold encouraged me to found the Justice Integrity Project the next month ahead of my timetable, and I remain glad of it. There’s much to do when even esteemed judges and reporters fail to act on what some of us saw with our own eyes in court.

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Feds Fight To Uphold Christie-era Jersey Charges

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

New Jersey federal prosecutors last week won court permission for a new 30-day delay to check with Washington headquarters on whether to give up their so-far unsuccessful effort to expand federal bribery law by courtroom maneuvers instead of congressional action. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted a second grace period for prosecutors who are trying to calculate their odds of success if they ask the full appeals court to overturn a unanimous three-judge ruling in February. The ruling vacated charges filed nearly two years ago against former Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo and his brother and campaign manager, Ronald Manzo.

“The time for the U.S. attorney’s office to check with Washington,” Louis Manzo, at right, told the Justice Integrity Project April 2, “was before they brought the case, not as an after-thought when the case was dismissed. Our evidence indicates that the government camouflaged the election activity and the fact that candidates – not public officials – were being targeted. Had they not screwed up their protocol, they and we might not be in this predicament now.”

The three judges ruled in February that Hobbs Act bribery law for many years has covered only officials, not candidates. As our Project reported in, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Republican former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, left, initiated the sting against primarily Democratic local politicians in a 46-defendant Bid Rig III case before he left office at the end of 2008. Christie’s successors moved forward with the cases in July 2009, relying heavily on since discredited witness Solomon Dwek. The indictments helped Christies win New Jersey’s governorship as a corruption-fighter and in the process helped top prosecutors win jobs for themselves in his administration.

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Online Booksellers Dismissed from Obama Libel Case

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

Online booksellers are not liable for potentially defamatory comments posted on websites and created by others, a Washington federal judge ruled March 31 in dismissing civil charges involving a controversial book about President Obama. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, right, dismissed civil charges pre-trial as a matter of law regarding the self-published book, Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair.

Sinclair, the book’s author, wrote the Justice Integrity Project with this comment:“I believe Judge Leon made the proper ruling in regards to the Motions for Summary Judgment by Barnes & Noble and and the Motion to Dismiss by Books-A-Millions. I am still awaiting a decision on my motion to dismiss, as well as the Rense motion to dismiss.”

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