Part of the transcript of Dana Jill Simpson's testimony before Congressional lawyers was leaked yesterday, and it is a historic document. Simpson exposes the sleaze and depravity at the heart of Republican politics in Alabama, and she does it in a way that has never been done before.
It surely pained the honchos at The Birmingham News to report this story. In fact, they never explain how they obtained an advance copy of the transcript. But Simpson's testimony about the machinations behind the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman evidently provided a stench so strong that even the News could not ignore it.
Actually, as we will see in a bit, the News' coverage probably is an attempt to slant the news rather than report it.
Key points from Simpson's sworn testimony:
* Rob Riley, the son of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, told her that Siegelman ended his challenge of Bob Riley's gubernatorial victory in 2002 after receiving assurances that "they would not further prosecute him with the Justice Department." Excuse me while I vomit. And does this not qualify as extortion?
* Bob Riley met with White House strategist Karl Rove about the Siegelman prosecution.
* Rob Riley had frequent contact with Rove.
* Rob Riley and others discussed Rove's direct involvement in the Siegelman prosecution.
* Rob Riley told her in early 2005 that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller would "hang Don Siegelman."
* Rob Riley told her that he knew Fuller was going to get the Siegelman case nine months before an indictment came down.
* Rob Riley told her in early 2005 that "they had come up with an idea to prosecute Don Siegelman with Richard Scrushy" after the initial charges against Siegelman were dropped. Riley told Simpson it was a good idea because "nobody likes Richard Scrushy, and he thought that would ensure a conviction for Don Siegelman."
* I had to guffaw at this: Caroline Lynch, a lawyer for committee Republicans, asked Simpson why she wouldn't take such serious charges to someone, like the Alabama State Bar. Are you kidding me? Lynch obviously doesn't know a thing about the Alabama State Bar. It's pretty much a worthless outfit, and the chances of the State Bar actually taking action on something this explosive? Virtually nil. Heck, I've sent the State Bar information about an attorney with a 30-year record of unethical behavior, and my new information included clear evidence of federal crimes. Did the State Bar do anything? Sent me a letter saying they wouldn't even investigate. Lynch is either disingenuous, clueless, or a little of both.
An effort naturally is under way to discredit Simpson. Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork World News & Journal reports that the entire transcript was supposed to be released today. But portions of it were leaked by Republican committee members to certain news organizations, evidently in an effort to discredit Simpson. The leak violated terms of an agreement Simpson had with the committee.
Scott Horton, of Harper's, saw the leak coming and does his usual splendid job of taking apart the News' slanted reporting.