Thursday, August 30, 2007

High Anxiety in Alabama

Two important posts today from Scott Horton, of Harper's, on the subject of justice in Alabama.

First, Horton writes about yesterday's sentencing hearing for former Don Siegelman aide Nick Bailey. The hearing included a statement from Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Feaga, saying that Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy are "reaching out from their jail cells" in an attempt to sway events linked to their case. Feaga told U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller that the activities of Siegelman and Scrushy could constitute obstruction of justice.

Feaga gave no specifics regarding possible obstruction. But Horton has a theory about what might have the prosecutor in a lather. "Might they (Siegelman and Scrushy) actually be cooperating with the House Judiciary Committee and its investigation (into selective prosecution by the Bush justice department)?" Horton writes. "I think the answer to that question is yes, though that's just conjecture. And that must be provoking a severe anxiety attack among Mrs. William Canary (Feaga's boss) and her loyal team."

Horton goes on to note that we are now one month past the deadline for Canary's office to comply with the Judiciary Committee's request for documents. The office has produced nothing evidently. "These are classic acts of obstruction," Horton writes. "So if Mr. Feaga wants to start an obstruction inquiry, he won't have very far to go."

Still on the subject of anxiety, Horton addresses the bizarre editorial in today's Mobile Press-Register. The newspaper actually comes close to praising the performance of disgraced Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who has drawn heavy doses of bipartisan criticism. The editorial is alternately laughable and frightening, and it gives considerable insight into the "thinking" that goes on at the newspaper (at least among its leaders) that is credited with launching the Siegelman investigation.

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