Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eddie Curran Resurfaces in Siegelman Saga

A familiar character has resurfaced in the Don Siegelman saga, just in time for tonight's story on the case by 60 Minutes.

Eddie Curran, who wrote an extensive series of articles that sparked the Siegelman investigation, apparently has a new piece in the Montgomery Independent. According to a number of reports on the Web, Curran's article is in the print version of the Independent, which was published Friday, but evidently is not available yet on the Web.

I haven't seen Curran's latest piece, but I understand that it attacks the testimony of Republican whistleblower Jill Simpson and the reporting of Harper's Scott Horton.

Curran normally writes for the Mobile Press-Register. But he has been on sabbatical from the paper in order to finish a book on the Siegelman case.

We've had some interaction with Curran and found him to be quite a character. You can read about our experiences with Mr. Curran here and here.

From reading this account, some might call Mr. Curran a flake. Some might call him a meathead. Some might call him an ass. Some might call him a hero.

I understand that Curran has sent numerous wacky e-mails to Scott Horton. If Horton decides to share those e-mails with the world, it should be highly entertaining.

I've been a journalist for almost 30 years, and I've known a few reporters in my time. Some of the best ones are fruitcakes, and Mr. Curran might be keeping with this fine tradition. A reporter can be plenty eccentric and still be a fine reporter.

But I think it's fair to ask just how objective Curran might be at this point regarding Ms. Simpson's testimony and Scott Horton's reporting. It is well documented that Curran is indeed writing a book about the Siegelman case.

How much interest would there be in Curran's book if, through Simpson's testimony and Horton's reporting, it is shown that the prosecution was politically motivated and Siegelman was, in fact, not guilty. If I were in Curran's shoes, I very much would want the Siegelman conviction to stand. If it doesn't, I would fear that my book either would never be published or would sell about six copies.

I've spoken with a number of sources who have questioned Curran's objectivity all along regarding Don Siegelman. Larissa Alexandrovna, of at-Largely, seems to be getting at this when she notes that Curran's father, a Mobile attorney, has a particularly close relationship with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions.

Of course, we learned a few weeks back that Lanny Young, a prime witness against Siegelman, also presented evidence about improper gifts he made to Sessions. Those allegations, however, apparently were never seriously investigated, while Siegelman was not only investigated but prosecuted.

On the subject of Eddie Curran's objectivity, I can only add this: I sent him at least two e-mails about the wrongdoing I had witnessed by Republican judges in Alabama state courts. I also had about a 10- to 12-minute phone conversation with him one day. He has yet to ask me the first question about what I witnessed. That might be because he's tied up with the Siegelman book. It might be because he thinks I'm a nutjob. But I would have been more impressed with his objectivity if he had at least referred me to another Press-Register reporter or editor and encouraged them to question me in a serious way. I would welcome such an inquiry. But I suspect Mr. Curran knows that no one at his paper wants to know the truth of what happened in my case.

As for Alexandrovna, she notes that American Spectator writer Quin Hillyer has attacked 60 Minutes in advance for its reporting on the Siegelman case. Alexandrovna does a nice job of counterpunching Mr. Hilyer here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Schnauzer,
I saw your piece and you expressed a wish to be able to publish some of the e-mails I have sent Scott Horton and his editors at Harpers -- my sole purpose being to give them an opportunity to respond to quetions I have. This, incidentally, is an opportunity that Horton doesn't give subjects of his stories. Here is one such e-mail, sent 10 days ago:

From: Eddie Curran

Attn: Scott Horton
Giulia Melucci
Roger Hodge

Dear Sirs/Madam

Am assuming I will not be receiving a response to my previous questions but am, according to common reporting standards, required to provide you with the opportunity to do so.
I have one final question. William Horton, a Birmingham lawyer, has informed me that he is Scott Horton's second cousin. Horton is the former general counsel at HealthSouth, where he worked under Richard Scrushy. He was called as a defense witness at Scrushy's first trial, in Birmingham.

He now works for the Haskell Slaughter firm which represents, among others, Jill Simpson.
She is the woman whose affidavit kick-started the allegations that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was prosecuted as a result of a conspiracy that, according to Horton/Harpers, includes Karl Rove; Washington and Alabama-based prosecutors within the justice department; Alabama governor Bob Riley and his son; U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller; Washington lobbyist and political consultant Bill Canary and his wife, Montgomery-based U.S. Attorney Leura Canary; contracting officials with the U.S. Air Force and Justice Department; and others, apparently including the two largest newspapers in Alabama and some of their reporting and editing staff.
William Horton informs me that he is not in close contact with Scott Horton, and I will note that he says as much. I e-mailed William Horton after Scott Horton declined to provide an answer when I asked him if he was related to William Horton.
I wonder how Scott -- and Harper's, through Scott -- would treat such an astonishing coincidence were it to be found in relation to the prosecution of Don Siegelman.

Should you have any comment, feel free to e-mail or call. Thanks for your time,
Eddie Curran