Time magazine today is breaking a major story on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, and it should have profound implications for the Congressional investigation of the Bush Department of Justice.
Adam Zagorin's story focuses on Lanny Young, a lobbyist and landfill developer who was the central witness in the case against Siegelman. Time has obtained investigative records showing that Young not only presented damning evidence about Siegelman (a Democrat), but also fingered Republicans Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor.
While Siegelman wound up being prosecuted and convicted on corruption charges, Justice Department officials evidently never looked into Young's allegations against Sessions and Pryor.
Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork World News & Journal, has this take on the breaking story.
Sessions, a U.S. Senator, and Pryor, then Alabama's attorney general and now a federal judge, were deeply involved in wrongdoing, according to Young. Records show Young telling prosecutors that he had used intermediaries to arrange gifts of $5,000 to $15,000 to the Sessions campaign.
"If true, Young's statements describe political money laundering that would be a clear violation of federal law," Zagorin writes. "In 1996 when Young said he had made the contributions, it was illegal to give a candidate more than $1,000 for a primary or general campaign."
Young also offered details about donations totaling $12,000 to $15,000 to Pryor's campaign for state attorney general. Again, Young used intermediaries to disguise the contributions.
Zagorin quotes Laurie Levenson, an expert in legal ethics at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "Certainly prosecutors would face a professional obligation to check out or verify the allegations in this case," Levenson says. "Not doing so would represent a potential abuse of prosecutorial discretion." The key, she says, is whether prosecutors chose not to pursue evidence of criminal activity by Republicans because of political bias or a conflict of interest.
The Time article makes the political bias abundantly clear. And the Siegelman case is not the only example of such bias out there. We will lay out a similar scenario here at Legal Schnauzer, although our case will cover two states (Alabama and Mississippi) and a different branch of government (the judiciary).
For the past two weeks or so, we've been laying out a series of posts about the Paul Minor case in Mississippi. Minor and two judges (all with Democratic leanings) were convicted on corruption charges, but we've shown that the case was wrongly decided and probably pursued for political reasons by the Bush DOJ. And we've shown that U.S. Circuit Judge Henry Wingate, a Republican appointee, played a critical role in ensuring that the defendants would be convicted, contrary to the facts and law in the case.
Meanwhile, in Alabama, yours truly has a case involving attorneys and Republican judges who truly did act corruptly. The evidence is overwhelming that the judges violated their duty under the law, costing me and Alabama taxpayers thousands of dollars.
So far, the Bush DOJ's level of interest in the Legal Schnauzer case has been about the same as it was in the Sessions and Pryor cases. Zero.
But we will show how Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, has taken affirmative steps to try to keep our case below the surface. Does Alice Martin meet the level of ethics for prosecutors outlined by Ms. Levenson above? Not on your life. And we will be laying out the case against Martin in the weeks and months ahead.
Thanks to Time magazine, the Bushies' skulduggery regarding Sessions and Pryor has been exposed. The mission of this blog is to expose similar GOP skulduggery in the Legal Schnauzer case.