Monday, September 10, 2007

Is Alabama Story About to Break?

Is the story of the Department of Justice (DOJ) scandal about to break open, based on activity in Alabama?

It looks like that could be happening. Adam Cohen, of The New York Times, reports today on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and the upcoming appearance of Rainsville lawyer Dana Jill Simpson before Congressional investigators. Simpson is expected to be questioned about the details of an affidavit in which she claimed that she was part of a telephone conversation that indicated the Siegelman prosecution was politically motivated.

Cohen reports that Simpson's testimony is likely to go well beyond the conference call. She also is expected to tell investigators about a conversation with Rob Riley, son of Alabama governor Bob Riley, in which Riley told her Siegelman was about to be re-indicted in Montgomery (after a case against him in Birmingham fell apart). Cohen also notes that Bob Riley defeated Siegelman in a razor-close 2002 election under suspicious circumstances. Cohen notes the study of Auburn University professor James Gundlach, showing that the election likely involved manipulation of votes.

Scott Horton, of Harper's, provides additional perspective on the evolving story, noting that while the Alabama press continues to ignore the story, major national news outlets are working on it. Horton also posts on today's news that the DOJ is officially stonewalling the House request for documents in the Siegelman case.

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