The big lesson, for me at least, is that justice in the Siegelman case probably will not come from Washington, D.C. It is more likely to come from Montgomery, Alabama, which is Lennox' home base.
I'm not sure if Lennox would agree, but for me, three notions have become clear:
* The Rove testimony, not under oath and not in public, wasn't designed to accomplish much. And in that sense, it was a "success";
* The truth in the Siegelman case will not come out without a serious bottom-to-top investigation, focusing on hard evidence (e-mail records, phone records, etc.), as opposed to broad questions that can easily be sidestepped;
* That investigation needs to start not at the top, with Rove, but farther down the food chain--with some prominent Montgomery folks, particularly U.S. attorney Leura Canary and her husband, Business Council of Alabama president William Canary. Rove's former Alabama point person, Kelley McCullough Robertson, is another key figure.
In his most recent contribution to our exchange, Lennox acknowledges that a strong argument can be made that the Don Siegelman/Richard Scrushy transaction did not constitute a crime and that prosecutors showed signs of wanting to somehow get Siegelman, at all costs.
To his credit, Lennox interjects some humor into the proceedings. I had noted that "living in Montgomery was enough to corrode anybody's brain a little bit." (I didn't exactly say that Lennox' brain had corroded.) Lennox responded by posting a photo of himself from his Birmingham radio days in 1977 aside one from his recent television days in Montgomery--presenting compelling evidence that he certainly looks smarter now than he did then. Touche.
Unfortunately, Lennox misstates my positions in a couple of instances. For one, he states:
I previously posted about Karl Rove's testimony, asking a question that neither fellow blogger Mr. Roger Shuler nor others seem to be willing to answer: what did they expect Rove to say under oath? Why were they even remotely surprised that he failed to "confess", and instead testified he didn't remember?
Actually, I wasn't surprised at all. As I stated in a post dated August 13:
The bottom line? The Rove/Mincberg deposition was not conclusive about much.
Did Mincberg nail Rove, with bombshell testimony or evidence that "Bush's Brain" clearly was behind the Siegelman prosecution? No, but I doubt that any rational human being thought that was going to happen on this go-around.
Then, Lennox takes me to task for pointing out that prosecutors filed their case against Siegelman and Scrushy well after the statute of limitations had expired. He offers me this advice:
But try for a minute to be dispassionate about it, to examine the facts. You include the "statute of limitations" in your list of argument in favor of Mr. Siegelman, saying prosecutors filed too late. If ever there was a "technicality" in the law, the statute of limitations is it. Should prosecutors be required to file on time? Of course. But it's a sign of desperation to spend much time making that argument when you are defending a man who is truly innocent.
First of all, the statute of limitations (SOL) in any case is hardly a "technicality." It is an absolute deadline that decides many cases, both civil and criminal--and prosecutors in the Siegelman/Scrushy case missed it by several months.
But aside from that, I went on to cite four other issues where both the trial and appellate courts erred in the Siegelman/Scrushy case. Had any one of these four points been decided correctly, the defendants--by law--would have been found not guilty.
I focused on the statute of limitations to show that the Siegelman/Scrushy case never should have gotten off the ground. The other four points show that they were, in fact, innocent.
Where do Lennox and I differ the most? I think he lacks a sense of urgency about this issue? His use of the word "dispassionate" is perhaps a clue.
For better or worse, I do have a sense of urgency--and I definitely am "passionate" about it. And as I've stated before, it goes way beyond the Siegelman case, the Paul Minor case in Mississippi, or even my own case.
I wish Lennox could talk to the numerous lawyers who have shaken their heads as they've told me the unlawful actions they've seen taken by judges in Shelby County, Alabama. I wish he could talk to the people who have told me about their horrific experiences in Jefferson County Domestic Relations Court. That court is so bad that I know of at least two instances where lawyers have filed federal lawsuits against judges. That's "man bites dog" stuff.
I've heard of people ruined financially and damaged emotionally, I've seen families torn apart, I've heard of children being placed in situations that put their welfare at great risk.
And that doesn't count people like Siegelman, Scrushy, and Minor, who have gone to prison for crimes they did not commit.
I'm guessing that Lennox, like me, is in his 50s. Perhaps he has been fortunate enough to have lived that long and not been cheated in court--or to have not seen hard evidence about others being treated unlawfully in court.
I have not been so fortunate. I have seen the ugliness firsthand, and that almost certainly is where my sense of urgency comes from.
When you pull back the curtain and look into the grotesque face of our justice system, I don't know how anyone could remain dispassionate about it.