Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Potpourri for $40 please, Alex

Tidbits from the world of politics and law in Alabama:

* Looks like playing along with the government in the Don Siegelman prosecution will pay off handsomely for Nick Bailey. Siegelman's conviction on corruption charges was based almost entirely on the testimony of Bailey, a former Siegelman aide who entered into a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors after pleading guilty to two charges. Now federal prosecutors are asking that Bailey not serve any prison time, asking a judge to reduce his sentence from 18 months in prison to 12 months of home confinement. And you've got to love this quote from Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Feaga: "Bailey was a foot soldier, and we want foot soldiers to know we won't shoot them if they shell it down on the big dogs." Couldn't Feaga try just a little harder to sound more like a redneck? And comparing a confessed federal criminal to a foot soldier? Shows a lot of respect for our foot soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

* Speaking of Bailey, his testimony evidently didn't impress the jury in the corruption trial of Dr. Phillip Bobo. Prosecutors tied Bobo to Siegelman's administration, but jurors acquitted Bobo on all charges this week. The Decatur Daily opines that the Bobo acquittal should provide Congress with more ammunition to look into the Siegelman case for possible selective prosecution.

* Special prosecutors in Birmingham have charged Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs with contempt of court in a case involving State Farm insurance coverage and post-Hurricane Katrina claims. Scruggs was charged by special prosecutors because Alice Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, declined to prosecute him. Scruggs is the brother-in-law of U.S. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), and Martin's refusal to prosecute appeared to be a case of selective prosecution, based on Scruggs' ties to GOP royalty.

* Finally, Alabama Governor Bob Riley says he expects the state school board to approve proposals removing lawmakers (mostly Democrats) from two-year college jobs. Alabama's two-year college system has been the subject of an ongoing corruption investigation, and Riley appointee Bradley Byrne has proposed that lawmakers be prohibited from using paid leave to attend legislative sessions. Critics charge that Byrne's proposals are designed to hurt Democrats and others who support the Alabama Education Association. Riley said he wants to end favoritism and preferential treatment given to lawmakers. Is Riley opposed to favoritism and preferential treatment across the board, or only when it seems to involve mostly Democrats? We will examine that subject next.


Anonymous said...

You keep making mistakes. Riley didn't appoint Byrne. The school board did -- Democrats and Republicans.

And the policies Riley supports apply to both Republicans and Democrats. So how do you back up the favoritism charge?

Anonymous said...

The reason that Byrne's proposal affects mostly Democrats is that it mostly Democrats who are ripping off the people of Alabama by working sham jobs in the 2 year college system.

Jeff (no, the other one) said...

Riley didn't suggest Byrne; Byrne's name was brought up by "someone else". The Gov. told me so, in person. No, really!

Anon. is correct, officially. The SBE voted to hire Byrne as Chancellor.

Some at AEA still dispute the rapid process. The alternative was another 6-12 months of drift for the entire system as an expensive nationwide search was conducted.

The 2 year college system and legislature both have numerous people who have made too-cozy nests for themselves. It's a long-running tradition that's overdue for a change.

legalschnauzer said...

In the fifth parapgraph of the story link above, Byrne is described as a "Republican appointed at Riley's urging." In May 25 story, The Birmingham News said, "Gov. Bob Riley, who joined the board majority in approving Byrne's contract . . . "