As a public service, we at Legal Schnauzer provide some background that we hope will enhance your understanding, and enjoyment, of tonight's 60 Minutes segment on the Don Siegelman case.
For its powerhouse reputation in broadcast journalism--and 60 Minutes' reputation is about as strong as it gets--we must remember this about the show: A standard episode runs about 42 minutes, excluding ads, so that means a segment goes about 14 minutes. That's not much time for a tale as complicated as the Siegelman case.
So 60 Minutes will be able to focus narrowly on certain aspects of the case. I'm sure large chunks of interviews will be left on the editing-room floor. So here are some background issues to keep in mind:
* The piece evidently will focus heavily on the role of White House advisor Karl Rove in the Siegelman case. Folks outside of Alabama might wonder: Why would a national figure like Karl Rove care about the governor of Alabama? Well, before Karl Rove was a national figure, he built his reputation on judicial races in Alabama, turning our courts from all-Democratic to virtually all-Republican. In fact, Rove built his national reputation in Alabama, not in Texas. We have posted about Rove's Alabama connections here.
* Based on previews of the 60 Minutes piece, it appears that Rove will be portrayed as an individual with serious ethical shortcomings. And yet, he and Bill Canary (who also will probably come off as being ethically challenged) played a huge role in shaping today's state courts in Alabama. So as you watch the show, I encourage you to ask this question: If these two gentlemen are so unethical, what kind of state courts must Alabama have?
That is the story that continues to go unreported in the mainstream press. Long before Don Siegelman was prosecuted for political reasons, long before George W. Bush took over the U.S. Department of Justice, Karl Rove was turning Alabama state courts into a political cesspool. And they remain a political cesspool today.
The most well known example of the sleaze in Alabama courts is the ExxonMobil case, in which our Supreme Court unlawfully overturned a $3.6 billion judgment for the state and against the oil giant. But our Legal Schnauzer case has been handled just as unlawfully, and we will lay it all out for you in the weeks and months ahead--in spite of recent threats by Alabama Republican honchos to steal my house. That, of course, is a blatant attempt to shut down this blog, and I strongly suspect it originates with some key players in the Siegelman case. More on that is coming up very soon.
The bottom line? If you truly want to understand the mindset that led to the Don Siegelman case and the firings of U.S. attorneys across the country, you need to understand Alabama state courts. That's where Karl Rove's grand power grab began.
And that's the primary point behind this blog: to shine light on the corruption that still runs wild in Karl Rove's Alabama court system.