G. Douglas Jones, who was Don Siegelman's second chief defense counsel, charged the former governor $300,000, a source tells Legal Schnauzer.
What did Siegelman get for that hefty expense? The answer appears to be, "Not a whole lot." Jones did not take the case to trial, withdrawing from the matter in spring 2006. Based on his testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in fall 2007, Jones attended two meetings with prosecutors, had one substantive phone call with a prosecutor and . . . that's about it. (See document at the end of this post.)
Jones was on the case for roughly three years, attended a couple of meetings, engaged in one phone conversation, and charged Siegelman $300,000? Perhaps Jones did more than that to earn his fee, but when we first tried to ask him about it, he refused to answer questions. (See video at the end of this post. In a subsequent interview, Jones did answer questions.)
We already have pointed to evidence that Siegelman did not have Jones' full loyalty in the criminal case.
Did Jones accomplish much of anything during the time he represented Siegelman? Well, the former governor currently sits in a federal prison at Oakdale, Louisiana, so Jones certainly did not help get an acquittal--even though Jones' words before Congress show that he knew the main charge, involving alleged bribery and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, was brought well after the five-year statute of limitations had expired.
Has Jones spoken up publicly in the past five years or so about this gross injustice? It seems he's been pretty quiet.
The record shows that Jones did accomplish two things during his representation of Siegelman--and both helped the prosecution:
(1) Jones agreed to toll the statute of limitations, giving prosecutors an additional 30 days to gather evidence against his client; (See pages 10-11 in document below.)
(2) Jones told prosecutors he "would not hit the media with allegations of politics," as Siegelman's original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, had done. In other words, Johnson had boldly told the truth in the press that this was a political prosecution, while Jones promised to play softball with the feds. (See page 7 in the document below.)
In retrospect, David Cromwell Johnson's death in January 2003 might be the single biggest reason Don Siegelman currently is in prison. A source close to the former governor told me "there was no way in hell" the case would have ended in a conviction if David Cromwell Johnson had lived.
Here's one other thing Doug Jones accomplished for $300,000: He managed to probably leave a permanent lip imprints on Bill Pryor's white, doughy butt. Pryor, now a federal appellate judge on the Eleventh Circuit, initiated the Siegelman investigation while serving as Alabama attorney general and is seen by liberals as a rabid, partisan right winger.
But consider this from Jones: He chose not to raise charges of a political prosecution in the press because "I had too much respect for Attorney General Bill Pryor and the U.S. Department of Justice."
Don Siegelman was paying Jones $300,000 for zealous representation. Meanwhile, Jones was busy sucking up to Bill Pryor and the feds.
A strong argument could be made that Don Siegelman is the most successful Alabama Democrat in a generation. A similar argument could be made that he's the most successful Democrat in state history, given that he held four statewide offices.
So why is the public record peppered with information that indicates Doug Jones pretty much sold Siegelman down the river? Here is my answer: Doug Jones was more loyal to the legal elites in the DOJ and the Alabama AG's office than he was to Don Siegelman--who paid him $300,000.
Check out the video below and note Doug Jones' response when I asked him about the money Siegelman spent, compared to the quality of representation he received. If I were Jones, and had screwed a client like that, I wouldn't want to answer questions either.
My conversation with Jones touches on several topics--the Alabama bingo case, Paul Bryant Jr., etc. But Jones' refusal to answer questions about his compensation on the Siegelman matter should speak volumes to the former governor's supporters.
(Note: This is the second of three attempts I made to interview Jones on a variety of topics. In the first two, he was so smug and snippy that we essentially had no interview. He simply refused to answer questions about matters connected to his role as a former public official or an officer of publicly funded courts. In the third conversation, Jones actually answered a number of questions in a fairly courteous manner. Why the change in his tone? It's probably because, prior to the third conversation, Jones left Haskell Slaughter to start his own law firm, Jones & Hawley, P.C. With his name now front and center in a law firm, Jones apparently is less inclined to act like a jackass with a reporter. That third conversation will be featured in an upcoming post.)
Doug Jones Testimony