Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Voice for Siegelman

Federal officials evidently have successfully muzzled former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman while he is in prison, not allowing him to be interviewed by reporters. But Dana Siegelman is providing a voice for her father. And it is increasingly being heard.

Dana Siegelman, 22, has sent a letter to more than 1,000 people asking them to join her in urging members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to push forward with the difficult task of unearthing all of the sleaze associated with the Bush Department of Justice (DOJ).

About two weeks ago, Ms. Siegelman was spotlighted in a fascinating interview with Larisa Alexandrovna at Raw Story.

Ms. Siegelman seems to be growing justifiably impatient with the glacial pace of activities with the house committee. Since the committee held a hearing on selective prosecution on October 23, it has been awfully quiet.

The October hearing barely touched the tip of the iceberg of the selective-prosecution issue. One begins to wonder if a Democratic-led Congress truly has the stomach to get to the bottom of the DOJ sewer. One also wonders if Congressional Democrats have the determination required to overcome the gross stonewalling on the part of Bushies.

As days, weeks, and months pass by, people like Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney Paul Minor are political prisoners. Former Mississippi judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield will become political prisoners at the end of this month, wrongly convicted along with Minor on "corruption" charges.

Dana Siegelman reports that her dad is living in miserable conditions. He works as a janitor from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day and has no privacy. He must wear sweat suits in order to sleep in his drafty quarters.

"The people of Alabama need to know that the man who provided to much good for them is being treated so badly," Ms. Siegelman wrote.

Ms. Siegelman is the governor's daughter, so she might not be the most objective person on such matters. But she has a point.

Siegelman's prosecution focused on a gift from HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to help pay off a debt from an education-lottery campaign. But we've noted here at Legal Schnauzer that Siegelman had a history of taking on the tobacco and oil industries on behalf of the State of Alabama.

The Scrushy gift amounted to nothing more than standard political behavior and almost certainly did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. So one must wonder about ulterior motives behind the prosecution.

Putting a stop to the power Siegelman had shown at the ballot box was almost certainly one motive. But paying him back for taking on the corporate interests might have been motive number one.

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