Totally Not Suspicious At All, Nope.

2 comments February 25th, 2008at 06:41pm Posted by Eli

First of all, in case you haven’t been following, the Don Siegelman case, in which Alabama’s Democratic former governor was convicted and imprisoned on trumped-up charges brought by a partisan Republican prosecutor at Karl Rove’s behest, finally hit 60 Minutes:

The CBS piece, for which I was repeatedly interviewed, came through on its promise to deliver several additional bombshells. The most significant of these was the disclosure that prosecutors pushed the case forward and secured a conviction relying on evidence that they knew or should have known was false, and that they failed to turnover potentially exculpatory evidence to defense counsel. The accusation was dramatically reinforced by the Justice Department’s failure to offer a denial. It delivered a fairly elaborate version of a “no comment,” and even that came a full twenty-four hours after it had conferred with the prosecutors in question. The gravity of the accusations made and the prosecutors’ failure to deny them further escalates concerns about the treatment of the former Alabama governor.

(…)

[Former Arizona] Attorney General [Grant] Woods has this to say about the Bush Justice Department’s prosecution of Siegelman: “I personally believe that what happened here is that they targeted Don Siegelman because they could not beat him fair and square. This was a Republican state and he was the one Democrat they could never get rid of.”

In other words, not being able to beat Siegelman at the polls, Woods believes that his own party corruptly used the criminal justice process to take out an adversary. This is an extraordinary, heavy accusation. Not something that a senior Republican would raise easily about his own party. And the facts back the accusation up, beginning to end.

(…)

[T]he evidence on which the Siegelman conviction was secured was false, and was known by the prosecutors to be false from the beginning. Indeed, the evidence of this is now so overpowering that the Justice Department refused to answer charges on camera, just as it has resisted Congressional demands to turn over documents and wrongfully failed to comply with FOIA requests. The key testimony at trial came from a man named Nick Bailey, who, unbeknownst to Siegelman, was a crook. He never contested that fact. And he’s now in prison, where CBS interviewed him—notwithstanding the Justice Department refusal to authorize an interview. The prosecutors nabbed him and then told him he could get a light sentence if he worked with them to nail Siegelman, their real target. This very process is a perversion of the justice system, which as former U.S. Attorney Jones very properly says, requires that prosecutors investigate crimes and not people. But it gets still worse. Bailey testifies that he saw a check change hands at a meeting at which Scrushy’s appointment to the oversight board was decided. This is the evidence that landed Siegelman in prison. And it was false. And the prosecutors knew that it was false.

JONES: They got a copy of the check. And the check was cut days after that meeting. There was no– there was no way possible for Siegelman to have walked out of that meeting with a check in his hand.

PELLEY: So, Siegelman could not have had that check–

JONES: No.

PELLEY: –in his hand that Bailey–

JONES: It was–

PELLEY: –testified to seeing?

JONES: Absolutely impossible and they knew that, absolutely impossible.

PELLEY: That would seem like a problem with the prosecution’s case…

JONES: It was a huge problem especially when you’ve got a guy whose credibility was going to be the linchpin of that case. It was a huge problem.

…[The Justice Department] stated that Siegelman’s case was pursued and developed by career prosecutors, that it was based on the law, and justified by fair evidence.

(…)

First, we know that the first two career prosecutors assigned to the case, including the most experienced prosecutors who worked on it, came to the same conclusion that Grant Woods did: no reasonable prosecutor would ever have charged this case.
The Justice Department has consistently made false statements about the roles of the two earlier prosecutors, and their role only emerged in the last few months. It’s extremely noteworthy that throughout the history of this case, whenever a career prosecutor concluded that charges should not be brought, that career prosecutor ran into a bump in his career and was off the case. The message to the remaining career prosecutors was plenty clear. In fact it is clear that the career prosecutors’ views were overridden by political appointees driven by a strong partisan political agenda.

Second, they claim that the case was brought on a fair reading of the law. It was not, and indeed reasonable career prosecutors never would have acted on the basis of the reading they advanced, and a fair detached judge never would have allowed the case to go forward. This case offered neither.

Third, they claim that evidence was produced to sustain the charges. But the key evidence that the prosecutors brought forward was false, and they knew it was false. In this case proceeding on the basis of that false evidence was a corrupt wielding of prosecutorial power, pursued for a corrupt partisan political end – the elimination of a political adversary. They withheld the Bailey notes which would have demonstrated that his memory on this was conflicted or wrong and would therefore have devastated his testimony. There is mounting evidence that one or more witnesses were unethically pressured to give false evidence or face retaliation. This suspicion surrounds not only Nick Bailey, but also Jefferson County Republican Commissioner Gary White. Note the affidavit of his wife, which a federal judge in Birmingham stated only two weeks ago he found “established a prima facie case of impermissible conduct” by the prosecutors. The claim put forward there goes precisely to these facts. White was pressured to give false evidence supporting Bailey on his false claims about the meeting. It is suggested that he would be prosecuted if he failed to do so. He refused, saying the testimony would be false. And he was prosecuted. This seems to summarize the crooked criminal justice system that Karl Rove and his friends have promoted in Alabama.

CBS conducted dozens of interviews and has much more that it hasn’t shown. The additional footage concerns the Canary team—husband Billy who advised the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidates against Siegelman, and wife Leura Canary, whose prosecution of Siegelman was essential to the G.O.P.’s efforts to secure the Montgomery statehouse. And they have much more on the inexplicable conduct of federal Judge Mark Fuller, appointed by George W. Bush, a former member of the Alabama G.O.P.’s Executive Committee, and a man who publicly stated that Siegelman had a grudge against him—but who refused to recuse himself from the case.

As if all of that isn’t disgusting enough, here is the rancid icing on the corruption cake:

I am now hearing from readers all across Northern Alabama—from Decatur to Huntsville and considerably on down—that a mysterious “service interruption” blocked the broadcast of only the Siegelman segment of 60 Minutes this evening. The broadcaster is Channel 19 WHNT, which serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. This station was noteworthy for its hostility to Siegelman and support for his Republican adversary. The station ran a trailer stating “We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a techincal problem with CBS out of New York.” I contacted CBS News in New York and was told that “There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.”…

Gee, what are the odds of a mysterious “outage” overlapping almost exactly with the time of the Siegelman segment on 60 Minutes? Sure does sound like GOP corruption in Alabama is both broad and deep, doesn’t it.

If you want to participate in moving either of these stories forward, Scott Horton urges his readers to use CBS’s Contact Us form to demand that they follow up on the issues they didn’t fully resolve, and to contact Channel 19 WHNT’s management group, Oak Hill Partners, though Rhonda Barnat at 212-371-5999 or rb@abmac.com.

(h/t Christy)

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

2 Comments

  • 1. Multi Medium » The &hellip  |  March 2nd, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    […] Apparently, it is possible to be guilty even after proven innocent under the Bush legal regime.

  • 2. wetreeletter  |  May 7th, 2008 at 8:03 am

    height. adventures. I still from for a while, chunk crashing down and foxes attempt. home When


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