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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Abramoff Trail: Is Siegelman Prosecutor Trying to Cover the Tracks?

Alabama federal prosecutor Leura Canary evidently would not recognize a conflict of interest if it smacked her in the head with a 2 X 4. Her stubbornness is again on display in a case that is reminiscent of the Don Siegelman prosecution.

It all apparently stems from Canary's desire to protect Alabama Governor Bob Riley from an ugly trail that leads to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Folks who have followed the Siegelman case know that Canary's myriad conflicts and her curious "recusal" became key issues on appeal.

The same issues are being raised against Canary in another Montgomery case, this one involving insurance executive John W. Goff.

The Montgomery Independent reports that Goff's attorneys are seeking to have his federal indictment dismissed because of bad-faith prosecution.

One motion seeks to have the case against Goff dismissed. Another seeks to have the case removed from all prosecutors in the Middle District of Alabama.

Goff's case is set for trial in February. Thomas Gallion, one of Goff's attorneys, recently removed himself from the case, a signal that he plans to testify as a witness on Goff's behalf. Here is an article about the latest in the Goff case:

Gallion To Testify for Goff (PDF)

Canary, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, supposedly recused herself from the Siegelman case. But, in an apparent violation of normal Justice Department procedure, it was assigned to one of her subordinates, Louis Franklin.

Tamarah Grimes, a whistleblower from inside the Justice Department, has provided documents indicating that Canary remained involved with the Siegelman case, even after she had claimed to have recused herself.

The Goff prosecution only began after he had filed a lawsuit against Alabama Governor Bob Riley and others, claiming they had conspired to ruin one of his insurance businesses. Riley is a close associate of Bill Canary, head of the Business Council of Alabama and Leura Canary's husband.

Bill Canary also is the man identified by Alabama attorney and GOP whistleblower Jill Simpson as saying "his girls" (Leura Canary and fellow Bush prosecutor Alice Martin) would "take care" of Siegelman. Bill Canary, according to Simpson, said he had worked out the plans to get Siegelman with someone named Karl, an apparent reference to Bush advisor Karl Rove.

Goff's attorneys argue in their motions that the criminal indictment is an effort to re-litigate a civil case that was settled in arbitration in 2004. At that time, 59 of 60 charges against Goff in an administrative complaint were dismissed. Goff pled guilty to one charge and paid a $10,000 fine.

Only after Goff filed a lawsuit against Bob Riley and others did the criminal prosecution begin.

Goff's lawsuit includes allegations that the governor and his son, Rob Riley, wrongfully laundered Mississippi casino money into Bob Riley's 2002 campaign against Siegelman, using Riley's connections to Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon.

Scott Horton, of Harper's magazine, has reported that Bob Riley was desperate to stop the Goff lawsuit from entering the discovery stage and sought Leura Canary's help in making it "go away." The indictment against Goff came not long after that.

The Goff dismissal motion can be viewed here:

John W. Goff dismissal motion (PDF)

The Goff recusal motion can be viewed here:

John W. Goff recusal motion (PDF)

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