Sunday, April 13, 2008

Washington Post Focuses on Siegelman Case

The Washington Post shines a spotlight today on the Don Siegelman case, noting that the former Alabama governor is trying to attack a weakness of the Bush Department of Justice (DOJ).

Reporter Carrie Johnson says Siegelman is using a theme that is popular with politically connected defendants: Taking advantage of missteps by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to show that the Bush DOJ practices political prosecutions.

Siegelman has not petitioned the court to hear his allegations of political tampering, choosing instead to make them on television programs and in newspapers and magazines. He asserts that Rove, two Republican U.S. attorneys, the son of his successor as governor, career prosecutors and former leaders of the Justice Department's public integrity unit conspired to manufacture a case and thwart Siegelman's ambitions to return to the governor's mansion.

Rove denies the assertions and derides the evidence offered by his accusers as vague and scanty. Federal prosecutors respond that they will argue in the courtroom, not in the court of public opinion.

Siegelman's assertions have attracted the attention of the House Judiciary Committee, which has launched an investigation into Justice Department actions under President Bush. But Siegelman acknowledges that he has no specific evidence tying his fate to White House political interference. "We don't have the knife with Karl Rove's fingerprints all over it, but we've got the glove, and the glove fits," Siegelman said in a telephone interview.

Johnson's account seems to imply that Siegelman's defense amounts to little more than a PR campaign. And she is much too kind to Gonzalez, saying he engaged in "missteps." Talk about an understatement. But she also notes the consistent use of "hedge language" by Karl Rove, Rob Riley, Bill Canary, and other Republicans who have been implicated in the case.

Perhaps most importantly, Johnson notes that the issue of political prosecutions could gain steam as 2008 winds down:

Assertions of political motivations, however, could grow louder as the presidential election approaches and the end of the Bush administration nears. Federal prosecutors have made public corruption among their top priorities, and grand jury investigations of lawmakers including former Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and House Appropriations panel member Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) could be resolved by the end of the year.

It's interesting that Johnson picks up on the DOJ theme that public corruption is a top priority. We will show here at Legal Schnauzer that corruption by Republican judges in Alabama state courts certainly has not been a top priority. In fact, we can show how a Bush appointee, U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, has taken clear steps to sweep corruption I've witnessed out of public view, protecting members of the Republican "home team." And those "home teamers" have ties to the Bush White House, through Alabama GOP operatives Dax Swatek and Bill Canary, and on to Karl Rove.

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