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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Did Siegelman Connection Lead to Conviction?

The Rev. Gregory Clarke reported to federal prison in Atlanta yesterday, but the former pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Birmingham did not go quietly.

Clarke was convicted last July of income-tax evasion. He was charged with underreporting $110,000 in earned income and concocting schemes to deceive the government about the money.

As Clarke was preparing to begin serving his sentence, he had a serious parting shot for the Bush Justice Department, as reported in The Birmingham News:

Clarke said he believes he was prosecuted because of his friendship with former Gov. Don Siegelman, who is serving a prison sentence after he was convicted on seven corruption-related counts by a federal jury in Montgomery in 2006.

"He's visited my church on many occasions even when he wasn't running for office," Clarke said. The New Hope Baptist Church choir appeared on one of Siegelman's Christmas cards, and Clarke supported Siegelman during his trial, he said. "Those ties have a lot to do with my circumstances," he said.

And then there was this information, which sounded quite familiar:

On Monday, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Greene denied Clarke's request to remain free on bond, saying there were no substantial legal questions about the case that could lead to Clarke's conviction being overturned or the sentence reduced.

Clarke said he would continue to appeal his conviction.

"We'll be vindicated in the appeal process," Clarke said. "I will go to prison but I'm not going quietly. We're going to stand against what has been perpetrated. It's against the body of Christ."

I must admit that, had I read this story about a year ago, I probably would have thought that Clarke was a crook dealing in sour grapes as he heads to the big house. But after studying the Siegelman case in Alabama and the Paul Minor case in Mississippi, and experiencing corruption in our justice system firsthand, I take folks like Rev. Clarke much more seriously now.

I would not be at all surprised if he was right on target.

Also, this case makes you wonder about the number of African-American Democrats who have been targeted by U.S. Attorney Alice Martin. It gets hard to keep up with them all--Rev. Clarke, Chris McNair, Jeff Germany, probably Larry Langford . . .

You really wonder if someone like Jesse Jackson should take notice of this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure the this is the case,plus the fact that Alice Martin is a Bush/Riley "girl". Once the election is over, the Democrats will win the white house and thing in Alabama will return to the usual "it's my time now". Don Siegelman will be granted an appeal, win it, and run and win the gov position again if he wants it.