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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Is There a New Judge in Pennsylvania Case, But Not for Don Siegelman?

We learned in recent days that the Cyril Wecht prosecution in Pennsylvania is falling apart. Why? Because a biased trial-court judge was forced off the case.

You heard that right. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last September that District Judge Arthur J. Schwab must step down and be replaced by a judge who could be impartial in the case.

If you have been following the Don Siegelman case, this news might cause you to have (borrowing a phrase from Keith Olbermann) a "WTF Moment."
Just yesterday, we wrote in detail about Alabama U.S. Judge Mark Fuller and the myriad grounds that he has shown bias in handling the Siegelman case. Our report even raised allegations that Fuller had committed fraud on the court in the Siegelman matter.

Yet Fuller remains on the Siegelman case while Schwab, also a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, gets the boot in Pennsylvania.

The issue of recusal has been raised in the Siegelman case, but Fuller has refused to step down, and the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has done nothing to force him.

Did a new judge make a difference in the Wecht case? Oh, just a little. The new judge, Sean J. McLaughlin, threw out key evidence, crippling the government's chances of retrying Wecht, who is a renowed forensic pathologist.

And get this. The new judge actually wanted to force the government to prove its case within the framework of this document we call the U.S. Constitution. Reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

McLaughlin said his ruling should not be viewed as a "legal technicality."

"These rulings are grounded in well-established Fourth Amendment principles which serve as a bulwark against unwarranted governmental intrusion into the private affairs of every citizen, not just this defendant," McLaughlin wrote. "The importance of these principles transcends this particular case."

I'll be damned. A judge who thinks a defendant's right to a fair trial is a serious matter. Who could have guessed that such a judge existed?

No such judges apparently sit on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the one that recently upheld most of the convictions against Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy.

Which raises these troubling questions? Does justice in America depend largely on where you live? Is it a matter of residing in the right judicial circuit? And is the 11th Circuit, which oversees Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, controlled by serious jurists or political hacks?

We will be taking a serious look at these question in the next few days.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could be the 11th Circuit judges are protecting their political cronies instead of a man's Constitutional rights. Does the President need the 11th Circuit's recommendation? More people need to call or post on the White House website the complaint about this judge. The more the DOJ resists this, the worse it's going to get as far as noise from the public. The PA case is just one more example of evidence added to the growing mount that political cronyism is at work in this district. They ought to use Fuller as a way out, since they are running from the fear of exposing the prosecution's corruption.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering what evidence there is that the judge was "biased?"

The more I read about this story, the more and more I see the mainstream media leaving out the very pertinent facts, namely that Siegelman was convicted of accepting a bribe from Richard Scrushy.

The bribe was in the shape of a "donation" to Siegelman's legalize gambling campaign. It was funnelled through global investment bankers USB, a $250,000 check from HealthSouth and $250,000 from Maryland-based Integrated Health Services, a nursing home company that went into bankruptcy shortly after the donation was exposed.

Dude, no one is going to take you serious unless you tell the ALL the truth.

Andrew Kreig said...

To Anonymous No 2:
Roger Shuler pointed to the evidence in a previous post. It's not possible to recite it all in every post he makes. I wrote 5,000 words on the topic you raised, and certainly won't be repeating them in every future post.

Anonymous said...

Kreig's article points to NO fraud in the Siegelman case. A very selective reporting of facts and the conflaction of unrelated cases does nothing for your failing credibility on this issue.

The left overlooks the pertinent facts in this case. At least 5 people testified that there was quid pro quo for the donation. Scrushy and Siegelman went to great pains to hide the donation. Siegleman was personally liable for the campaign loan that Schrushy's donation paid off. It was so far beyond a run-of-the-mill campaign donation that it isn't funny.

Notice that whenever the shills on MSNBC cover this issue they NEVER invite anyone who would actually provide viewers with the FACTS in the case.

The Supreme Court will not hear the case and Siegelman will return to prison where he belongs.

Anonymous said...

It's curious to me, those who say Siegelman belongs in jail, that there is no proof of fraud & corruption, where do they get their information? I wonder why they cannot read Kreig, Shuler, Horton and so many others from around the Country and the world for that matter who see the absolute truth, through real investigation, and just suppose there may be something to what they are reporting instead of unquestionably believing the biased local media. Before I stopped reading the Bham News, I too thought Siegelman was a guilty man. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to step outside their bubble of bias & find out that I had been duped by the Bham News.
I support strongly the push for the Justice Department to exonerate Siegelman. It goes much deeper than just Siegelman, it's all about being able to absolutely trust that justice does prevail over politicalization and corruption.
No one should turn a blind eye to any political party hijacking our Justice Department. When the truth comes out, that is what they will see happened under the leadership of Karl Rove during the Bush Administration.

Anonymous said...

So Mark Fuller is nephew of Terry Everett? Found this in comments on another blog...

"...

(D) In 2001 Bush appointed William Canary's wife as U.S. Attorney of Middle Alabama. Her prior job was working for Al. A.G. William Pryor. According to her piers one of her jobs for Pryor was profiling Don Siegelman and other top Alabama Democrats.

(E) In 2002, Mark Fuller who was the district attorney for Coffee County was appointed By Bush to be U.S. federal judge in middle Alabama. His successor who was appointed by Siegelman found that Fuller had falsified the county payroll for his investigators who had been doing work for him on the side. Fuller who owed one senior investigator several thousand dollars attempted to falsify his income so that he could retire and draw an additional $1,000 a month for the rest of his life. Fuller left for the federal bench with this hanging over his head. AG Pryor refused to investigate or charge Fuller for defrauding and falsifying Coffee county’s payroll. He also attempted to defraud the Al. Retirement System.

Fuller blamed Siegelman for exposing him. Fuller owns 47% and is/was president of Doss Aviation of Colorado, Springs, CO. He was working both jobs. His uncle Everett Terry serves on several Congressional Defense Committees and made his nephew Mark Everett Fuller a wealthy man through military contracts.

(F) Campaign Summer of 2002, Bob Riley used Goff's personal plane to fly to Washington to meet with Karl Rove to get a quick course in wearing $3,000 alligator boots and how to project himself as the Marlboro man riding a horse in his campaign ads.

He also had a private meeting with Lobbyist Michael Scanlon hosted by Rove. Scanlon used to work for Riley before he went to work for Congressman Delay. Riley asked for major financial help on his campaign for governor. Scanlon with the aid of Jack Abramoff and Rove who would provide white house assistance in pulling it off. They agreed to use scare tactics on the Indian Casinos making them pay large sums of money to block so called legislation to keep their casinos from having to pay taxes. Then it was to block legislation to keep the casinos from being shut down.. Then it was to defeat Siegelman since he was still pushing the Lottery. The money would be laundered by the National Republican associations. Scanlon created sham companies one of which was setup in Europe from which over a million dollars came. Riley received millions of dollars which in Congressman John McCain’s congressional investigation he acknowledged that Riley received millions of dollars from the Republican Associations, but they could not determine where the money came from.

(G) 2002 election night. All the polls had reported in and Siegelman won by over 6,000 votes. Dan Gans, who had programming, computer system administration training and trained to work on the Diebold Election Systems Inc and the ES&S central voting tabulator was about to be fired by Bob Riley when he decide to get online with Bay Minette located in Baldwin County, Al. He made several attempts to take votes from Siegelman’s total vote count and switch them to Riley’s; however, there was a third candidate that was running for governor that he forgot about. Gans had trouble making the total votes equal the number of voters that had voted. There was a count of the paper ballots which still showed Siegelman as the winner. So as a cover up, all the votes was sealed by AL AG William Pryor who issued a warning that he would prosecute anyone who attempted to break the seals. Siegelman tried to get a court order to have a recount but the Republican Judges wouldn’t issue one. Siegelman filed charges with the attorney general’s office attorney Troy King and talked with the FBI to no avail....."
http://a-loon.blogspot.com/2007/12/to-jill-simpson-and-american-whistle.html

Anonymous said...

But I guess to "Anonymous #2" there is no fraud there in Comment #6. Go figure...

mikkrikk said...

I have only heard that Nick Bailey testified that there was quid pro quo in this case (although we now know that his testimony was coached and is questionable.

According to the anonymous writer, at least 5 people testified that there was quid pro quo. So who were the other 4 (or more?) witnesses that had direct knowledge of quid pro quo? After all, the 11th Circuit panel stated that it was ok in this case for the jury to decide that there could have been a wink between the two men and that there probably was. If there were 5 witnesses, it seems there would have been no need for that statement.

Pittsburgher said...

Regarding the Wecht case in Pennsylvania, Cyril is himself an attorney, a very smart guy, and he hired some top-notch talent. It didn't help the US atty in Pittsburgh (the truly vile Mary Beth Buchanan) that the investigating officer had some major ethical problems that the Wecht team exposed. I said from the beginning that there was no way a Pittsburgh jury would convict Wecht over stuff like using copiers and getting rides to the airport. Nickel and dime stuff, but Wecht was a giant in Democratic politics here. Buchanan took millions out of his pocket because he had to mount a defense against 80+ federal counts, most of which were tossed out. She did manage to get rid of a medical examiner/coroner who would actually DO THE RIGHT THING and investigate cause of death, even in police shootings. Buchanan was up to her eyeballs in Karl Rove/Alberto Gonzales "justice." FYI, she's the one who charged Tommy Chong for the paraphernalia violations. She's still thinking about re-doing Wecht but the clock is ticking on her term. Wish Obama and Holder would hurry up and get us a new US atty.