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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Siegelman: Obama Administration Will Not Let Rove Off The Hook

A key Congressional leader has assured former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman that a Barack Obama administration will seek to hold Bush White House strategist Karl Rove accountable for possible interference with the U.S. Justice Department.

"I was at the Democratic National Convention and I asked [Rep.] John Conyers [the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee] if Rove would be pursued in the next administration," Siegelman said. "And he said--and I quote--'Let me put your fears to rest; it will happen. We are committed to the long haul.'"

Siegelman's comments came in an exclusive interview on Tuesday evening with Tommy Stevenson of the Tuscaloosa News. Earlier that day, Siegelman was at the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for oral arguments on his appeal.

Siegelman long has maintained that Rove was at the heart of a Republican plan to prosecute him on bogus charges. The trial ended with convictions against Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

"We have evidence that Rove was involved and sworn testimony," Siegelman said. "This could be the string that unravels the whole Rove criminal enterprise."

Many observers were surprised that Tuesday's three-judge panel focused largely on questions about juror misconduct and an obstruction of justice charge based on the purchase of a motorcycle. Little was said about the centerpiece of the case--an alleged bribery scheme between Siegelman and Scrushy.

Siegelman took that as a good sign.

"I think that means that they have already made up their minds about that issue and that is at the crux of the whole case. The fact that the same 11th Court of Criminal Appeals freed me in a highly unusual move in March because they had real questions about how the case was handled tells me they think that was a trumped up charge."

Improper communications between jurors seemed to be of particular interest to the judges.

"There were a whole lot of pointed questions about that, and they all seemed helpful to our case that the whole case should be thrown out or at least a mistrial be declared because of prosecutorial misconduct," Siegelman said.

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