|Dana Siegelman on HuffPost Live|
Biden recently told Dana Siegelman, Don's father, that he supports freedom for her father, according to a new report from Huffington Post. Dana Siegelman is the driving force behind free-don.org, an online-petition Web site devoted to seeking a presidential pardon for her father.
How did Joe Biden enter the picture? Well, it happened because Dana Siegelman is an articulate, aggressive spokesperson for justice--and she crossed paths with the vice president at a Washington, D.C., meeting of Democratic party chairs on the day after inauguration. Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington, of Huffington Post, describes the encounter:
Siegelman's daughter Dana recently spoke to HuffPost Live about the fight to free her father, who is currently being held on bribery charges despite a six-year battle to overturn his conviction. Siegelman discussed an encounter she had with Biden during a meeting of the Democratic party chairs in Washington D.C.
"I was able to sneak up and shake his hand, I held it tight and told him I was on a mission to free my dad," she told HuffPost Live. "His eyes got very big and he generally announced to the people around me, and to me, 'I am too.'"
Dana Siegelman said Biden's words "meant the world" to her and seemed to indicate that the White House is aware that the Department of Justice hasn't been doing a thorough job.
So we finally know that someone in a high place is aware that the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder is performing poorly? Can we get an "Amen"?
Former Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith appeared with Dana Siegelman on an episode of HuffPost Live. Griffith said former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove had "his hands all over" the Siegelman case. Griffith also said that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who presided over the trial, was not qualified to sit on the federal bench and clearly should have recused himself from the Siegelman case.
A direct link to the HuffPost Live segment is available here.
Don Siegelman is a long way from being out of the woods, and his daughter acknowledges that politics remains a tricky part of the equation:
Dana Siegelman told HuffPost Live that she thinks politics continue to play a role in why her father remains in prison.
"The president is aware he has to work with Congress over the next four years," she said. "The last thing he wants is a kickback from overturning a lot of these Bush appointees that are still there. I believe only 30 percentage of the Department of Justice has been replaced with Obama appointees. So you still have 70 percent. We don't know if they're pledging allegiance to the former president or not, but it is disheartening to see people who 10 years ago approved the prosecution against my father being the same ones denying his freedom now."
Joe Biden has been known to be a verbal loose cannon. He even has been known to draw the ire of Obama advisers for speaking off script. But the vice president is on target in this case. He finally is showing that the White House has a sense of moral authority, and Obama would be wise to follow suit.