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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alabama Republican Gets Nailed

Former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White must be the wrong kind of Republican. He somehow managed to get prosecuted and convicted on bribery charges brought by the Bush Department of Justice (DOJ). That's a real dog-bites-man story.

The jury verdict came Friday in a case where White was accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a company competing for county sewer business.

The case had a number of interesting connections to the Don Siegelman case:

* White's prosecution was brought by Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Martin, of course brought the first prosecution against Siegelman, the one that was tossed out of court.

* The judge in the White case was U.W. Clemon, the judge who tossed the first Siegelman case.

* Prosecutors said Clemon was not impartial when he dismissed the Siegelman case. Clemon dismissed two of the charges in the White case, and there is no indication that prosecutors complained much at all.

* The White case was moved from Birmingham to Montgomery when Clemon voiced concerns about White's ability to get a fair trial in Birmingham because of previous convictions of other county officials--all Democrats--in sewer-related cases. Siegelman, of course, had his first case dismissed in Birmingham and was convicted in a second trial, on a different set of charges, in Montgomery.

Based on my research, this appears to be the first instance of Alice Martin pursuing corruption charges against a Republican public official. Was the White case brought as a shield against charges of selective prosecution? Or was White just not part of the Rove/Riley/Canary cabal that seems to run Alabama these days?

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