Now let's take a second look at this issue to determine just how loony the government is in its efforts to make sure Fuller does not grant a motion to recuse filed by Siegelman codefendant Richard Scrushy.
First, the second line of the government's response mentions that William M. Welch, chief of the U.S. Public Integrity Section, is taking part in the proceedings. That's the same William Welch who is under investigation for criminal contempt in the case of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). You would think that might give prosecutors some pause. But, no, it's full steam ahead.
The government asserts that the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found juror e-mails in the case to be authentic, but still ruled against Siegelman and Scrushy. Prosecutors fail to note the content of the e-mails between jurors Katie Langer and Sam Hendrix. Here are a few of the missives, as reported by David Fiderer at Huffington Post:
gov & pastor [i.e. defendant Richard Scrushy] up s--t creek.
good thing no one likes them anyway.
all public officials r scum; especially this 1. pastor is reall a piece of work
. . . they missed before, but we won't
. . . also, keep working on [juror number] 30...
will update u on other meeting
Here is some more e-mail insight from Langer to Hendrix:
Judge really helping with jurors still having difficulties with #30
. . . any ideas???
Keep pushing on ur side.
Did not understand your thoughts on statute
But received links.
The government is arguing that those e-mails are authentic, but they do not constitute juror misconduct, which would merit a new trial. If these e-mails are not juror misconduct, then what is?
Finally, prosecutors seem to be confused about the concept of judicial recusal. Here are a few facts about the concept that the government does not want you to know:
* A U.S. Supreme Court case held: “Any justice, judge, or magistrate of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Liteky v. U.S., 114 S Ct. 1147, 1162.
* Another federal case held that a judge has a legal duty to disqualify himself, even when no motion asking for his disqualification has been presented, if he knows of grounds for his recusal. United States v. Balistrieri 779 F.2d 1191 (7th Cir. 1985). (In the Siegelman case, Judge Fuller received a $178 million contract from the U.S. government, the opposing party. Does that not call his impartiality into question?)
* Courts have found: “It is important that the litigant not only actually receive justice, but that he believes he has received justice. Justice must satisfy the appearance of justice." Pfizer Inc. v. Lord, 456 F 2d 532 8th Cir 1972.
Is there an appearance of justice in the Siegelman/Scrushy case? That could only exist in the warped minds of the prosecutors.