Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Siegelman Prosecutor Might Land Key Guantanamo Position

A lead prosecutor in the Don Siegelman case is close to receiving a JAG appointment as chief defense counsel for the U.S. Military Commissions in Guantanamo, a source tells Legal Schnauzer.

Stephen P. Feaga now is an assistant U.S. attorney, working for Leura Canary in the Middle District of Alabama. But our source learned from two senior Pentagon officials that Feaga is close to landing a position in Guantanamo.

Feaga was in Washington earlier this week to interview for the position with Jeh Johnson, U.S. Department of Defense general counsel.

If appointed to the Guantanamo post, Feaga would serve as defense counsel for terrorism suspects.

Those who have followed the Siegelman case surely will find irony in that. Feaga has been accused of pressuring a witness, Nick Bailey, to give false evidence in the Siegelman case. That fact was corroborated by U.S. Justice Department whistleblower Tamarah Grimes, who used to work for Feaga. The charges against Feaga apparently have never been fully investigated within the DOJ.

We have written extensively about Grimes, who was fired last summer just eight days after writing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about prosecutorial misconduct in the Siegelman case. (See the full Grimes letter to Holder below.)

Many of the misconduct charges focus on Feaga. For example, we wrote in a post dated September 29, 2009:

With the threat of disciplinary action hanging over her head, Grimes tried to ignore the misconduct. But it was hard to ignore overt negotiations of proposed testimony of key cooperating witnesses Nick Bailey and Lanny Young. The lead prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen P. Feaga, instructed investigators to meet with Bailey and Young frequently. Writes Grimes:

Mr. Feaga instructed the investigators how to approach the cooperating witnesses on a particular subject and specified what he needed the witness to say in order to support his prosecutorial theory. For instance, Mr. Feaga would say, "See if you can get him to say it like this . . . , " "Ask him if he is comfortable saying it like this . . . ," or "I need him to say it like this . . . ." The investigators would return from meeting with the cooperating witnesses to report to Mr. Feaga, who would send the investigators back with new instructions.

Grimes said that an FBI agent working the case came to say, "There is the truth, there are facts, and there are 'Feaga facts.'" As we wrote in September, quoting Grimes:

"Feaga facts" apparently were present in what proved to be the key testimony against Siegelman and Scrushy:

I particularly recall one meeting in which cooperating witness Nick Bailey was persuaded to recall something that he claimed he did not actually recollect. The matter concerned a meeting between Governor Siegelman and Richard Scrushy, a check and supposed conversation, which eventually led to the convictions in The Big Case. Mr. Bailey repeatedly said he did not know and he was not sure. The prosecutors coaxed and pressured Mr. Bailey to "remember" their version of alleged events. Mr. Bailey appeared apprehensive and hesitant to disappoint the prosecutors.

So "Feaga facts" were central to the Siegelman convictions, and now they could become part of the justice process at Guantanamo? That should be a frightening prospect for all U.S. citizens.

More insight on Feaga's tactics can be found in the full Tamarah Grimes letter to Eric Holder. That the Obama administration might actually appoint this guy to an important position is beyond alarming:

Grimes Letter to Holder


mikkrikk said...

As Moms Mabley once said of a George Wallace running for President, "anything to get him out of Alabama."

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they probably told all the witnesses what they wanted them to say, and those who didn't do it are paying a huge price, as are those convicted on the testimony of the ones who said what they were told to say and the whistle-blowers.

Anonymous said...

What else is new, this happens to citizens in this country every day: unjust persecution and prosecution at the hands of Federal Cronies. Its time for Siggy to step up to the plate and finish his sentence...he would already have another couple of years at Club Fed with "Gov"(Edwin Edwards) and would be getting ready to be released...