A three-judge panel earlier had upheld most of the convictions against Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy. With today's ruling, denying an en banc review, the only recourse for Siegelman and Scrushy--at least through the courts--is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The chances for anyone having a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court are slim. But attorneys for Siegelman and Scrushy, Vince Kilborn and Art Leach, say they are going to file a petition for review, and the issues at hand might be important enough to attract the Supremes' attention:
Leach said a centerpiece of the appeal to the Supreme Court will be the question of whether a crime was actually committed. Defense lawyers have argued there wasn't proof that Scrushy and Siegelman had an explicit deal to swap the campaign contributions for the appointment.
Kilborn said the case is of national importance because it involves the level of proof required to show campaign contributions were bribes.
"The Supreme Court, in my opinion, will take a long look at that," Kilborn said.
Nothing much surprises us here at Legal Schnauzer about our broken justice system. And we certainly are not surprised by today's ruling.
I have reviewed the three-judge panel's ruling, and other relevant documents, and it clearly is unlawful on numerous levels. We plan to start a series of posts next week that will show exactly how the 11th Circuit cheated Siegelman and Scrushy on appeal.
It's not even a close call that both the trial and appellate courts got this case wrong. But the sad truth is that our courts no longer are about justice; they are about politics--and nothing about that has changed in the first four months of the Barack Obama administration.
The judges on the 11th Circuit have a vested interest in perpetuating the myth that our courts are honest. And if Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy have to pay a price for keeping that myth alive, so be it.
Here's the truly sick thing about the 11th Circuit's handling of the Siegelman appeal: If the trial court had botched it just a little, I suspect the appellate judges would have overturned it. But trial judge Mark Fuller is so corrupt, and botched it on so many grounds, that there is almost no way to correct the decision without making it clear that the federal courts have a sleazebag in their midst.
Remember that Mark Fuller owes his judgeship to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Here is how Scott Horton reported it at Harper's:
One of the charges against Siegelman, on which he was convicted, was that he had accepted gifts from an Alabama lobbyist. When that lobbyist testified, he made the point that he done the same thing–except in a much larger way—with Alabama Republican Senator Jefferson Sessions, without the Justice Department raising any questions about it. Now, as we have already noted, Judge Fuller owes his judgeship in part to Jefferson Sessions, moreover, he was an active supporter and campaign donor to Sessions’s senatorial campaign.
Horton goes on to point out the critical role that Sessions former deputy, Bill Pryor, played in the Siegelman investigation. And where is Pryor now? On the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, as a George W. Bush appointee:
Moreover, Sessions’s deputy and successor as Alabama Attorney General was Bill Pryor, who played a key role in directing the prosecution of Siegelman. When Sessions’s name came up, the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section lawyer objected, asking that this evidence be excluded, and Fuller complied. No charges were ever brought against Sessions, nor was any investigation ever undertaken. Yet Siegelman was convicted on this charge.
The bottom line? A serious review of the Siegelman case would show that trial judge Mark Fuller acted in a corrupt, possibly criminal, manner. And any review of Fuller is going to lead to scrutiny of Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, Karl Rove, and George W. Bush.
Somebody has decided that the country "can't handle the truth" about the Siegelman case. So it is being covered up.
Starting next week, we will show you exactly how the 11th Circuit is participating in the cover up.