Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Siegelman: Rove’s Fingerprints "Are Smeared All over The Case"

Posted in politics by allisonkilkenny on March 30, 2008

By Paul Kiel at Talking Points Memo and Adam Nossiter at New York Times
Recap of Siegelman events by New York Times


Siegelman: Rove’s Fingerprints “Are Smeared All over The Case”
By: Paul Kiel

Former Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison today on bond in a bribery case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics played a leading role in his prosecution.

In a telephone interview shortly after he walked out of a federal prison in Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited the influence of Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case.



Freed Alabama Ex-Governor Sees Politics in His Case

By: Adam Nossiter

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison today on bond in a bribery case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics played a leading role in his prosecution.

In a telephone interview shortly after he walked out of a federal prison in Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited the influence of Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case.

Mr. Rove has strenuously denied any involvement in the conviction of the former governor, who was sentenced to serve seven years last June after being convicted in 2006. He could not immediately be reached for comment today.

Mr. Siegelman served nine months while his lawyers appealed a federal judge’s refusal to release him on bond, pending the ex-governor’s appeal of his conviction. That refusal was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Thursday.

The former governor, a Democrat, said he would “press” to have Mr. Rove answer questions about his possible involvement in the case before Congress, which has already held a hearing on Mr. Siegelman. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee signaled its intention to have Mr. Siegelman testify about the nature of his prosecution.

In June of 2006 he was convicted by a federal jury here of taking $500,000 from Richard M. Scrushy, the former chief executive of the HealthSouth corporation, in exchange for an appointment to the state hospital licensing board. The money was to retire a debt from Mr. Siegelman’s campaign for a state lottery to pay for schools, and the ex-governor’s lawyers have insisted that it was no more than a routine political contribution.

On the telephone outside the prison today, Mr. Siegelman said he had confidence that the federal appeals court, which will now consider his larger appeal, would agree with his view of the case — that he was convicted for a transaction that regularly takes place in American politics.

Otherwise, Mr. Siegelman said, “every governor and every president and every contributor might as well turn themselves in, because it’s going to be open season on them.”

His case has become a flash point for Democratic contentions that politics influenced decisions by the Justice Department, fueled by testimony from an Alabama campaign operative that suggested Mr. Rove may have had some involvement.

In Alabama, the Siegelman case has inflamed partisan passions, with Republicans insisting that Mr. Siegelman’s term from 1998 to 2002 was deeply corrupted, and Democrats furious over what they depict as a years-long political witch-hunt.

Before his release earlier in the day, the ex-governor completed his prison chores for the day — mopping a barracks area — and waited for his wife and son to pick him up for the eight-hour drive to his home in Birmingham, Ala.

“It feels great to be out,” Mr. Siegelman said. “I wish I could say it was over. But we’re a long way from the end of this.”

Donald Siegelman Recap

In more than two decades in Alabama politics, Don Siegelman was a rarity — a popular Democrat in a state that was gradually becoming solid Republican. After serving as secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor, Mr. Siegelman was elected governor in 1998 with 57 percent of the vote.

He was defeated for re-election in 2002 by Bob Riley, a Republican who focused his campaign on the ethics complaints and criminal probes that had dogged the Siegelman administration. Mr. Siegelman sought to challenge a tally that showed him trailing by 3,117 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast, but conceded after it became clear that a recount was unlikely to be granted.

During his single term in office, Mr. Siegelman’s top aides and associates were embroiled in scandals that included bribery, tax evasion, phony invoices and fixed traffic tickets. Mr. Siegelman himself was indicted on bid-rigging charges in May of 2004 but those charges were dropped five months later.

In June 2006, he was convicted along with former HealthSouth chief executive, Richard M. Scrushy. The two men were convicted on bribery charges stemming from a donation Mr. Scrushy made to retire a campaign loan Mr. Siegelman had taken out during a referendum campaign seven years earlier; prosecutors said that Mr. Scrushy’s appointment to the state hospital licensing board later was the result of the bribe. Mr. Siegelman was sentenced to seven years in prison, and was jailed immediately.

The case was considered unusual by many legal experts because actions like those Mr. Siegelman was accused of — exchanging a seat on the state board for a contribution — are hardly uncommon in state capitals around the country. The case became a center of controversy around the country in 2007, as the House Judiciary Committee began investigating charges that President Bush’s top political advisor, Karl Rove, had played a role in the prosecution.

On March 27, 2008, Mr. Siegalman was ordered released from prison by a federal appeals court, pending the outcome of his appeal. — March 28, 2008

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Read the full Don Siegelman backstory here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)if the U.S. attorneys target you, expect a break-inMore Allegations of Misconduct in Alabama Governor Case ▶ Comment /* 0) { jQuery(‘#comments’).show(”, change_location()); jQuery(‘#showcomments a .closed’).css(‘display’, ‘none’); jQuery(‘#showcomments a .open’).css(‘display’, ‘inline’); return true; } else { jQuery(‘#comments’).hide(”); jQuery(‘#showcomments a .closed’).css(‘display’, ‘inline’); jQuery(‘#showcomments a .open’).css(‘display’, ‘none’); return false; } } jQuery(‘#showcomments a’).click(function(){ if(jQuery(‘#comments’).css(‘display’) == ‘none’) { self.location.href = ‘#comments’; check_location(); } else { check_location(‘hide’); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = ‘#comments’; } }); /* ]]> */ […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: