Monday, March 29, 2010

Bush League "Justice": Punishing Those Who Refuse to Lie Under Oath

Those who have closely followed the criminal activities of the Bush-era Justice Department, probably know that former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy was prosecuted after he refused to give false testimony against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Scrushy was unlawfully convicted and now is in federal prison.

Less known is the case of former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White, who might be facing a similar fate. White, a Republican, refused to give the testimony that federal prosecutors wanted about Siegelman and Scrushy--and wound up being prosecuted and convicted on corruption charges. White and his wife, Judy, have been devastated financially--and White recently asked a judge to appoint an attorney because he could not afford one.

Siegelman, released from federal prison pending final appeal of his own conviction, is trying to shine a spotlight on the Whites' situation.

We first learned of the extraordinary pressure federal investigators placed on Gary White from the reporting of Scott Horton at Harper's. And now Judy White has released a statement that reveals how low our Justice Department has fallen since George W. Bush became president:

"My husband, while serving as an elected county commissioner, was subpoenaed to give grand jury testimony against former Governor Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy, because he assisted in arranging the meeting between them at which federal prosecutors contend crimes were committed that resulted in Governor Siegelman's and Mr. Scrushy's convictions. Please understand that I was present when my husband was questioned by federal officials, and I witnessed their demands that my husband testify as he was told, regardless of his insistence that he could not. Following his refusal to comply, the Office of the U.S. Attorney began investigating him, and obtained an indictment and a conviction, which was overturned by the trial judge.

The U.S. Attorney appealed the reversal. My husband got on the wrong side by refusing to commit perjury for their benefit. We have complained to the Office of Professional Responsibility and to the Department of Justice, to no avail, of numerous and verifiable instances of wrongdoing in this matter.

On one day we were highly respected, productive citizens, taking care of our family, and contributing to our community in numerous ways, serving on the boards of non-profits and raising awareness and money for worthy causes, aside from my husband's public service. Then, after my husband refused to commit perjury at the direction of federal officials, they have viciously focused on causing destruction, including the loss of employment, our home, relationships, and any and every resource we might have to fight back, to the point my husband is even unable to retain counsel.

Please help us, and please continue to help change a broken system.

If I did nothing, we would continue as we have since that fateful day when my husband refused to lie as demanded. Ultimately, I understand someone has to speak out and speaking out brings exposure. But if everyone with knowledge of the corruption spoke out, it would have to end, so I have chosen to not be part of the conspiracy of silence."

Siegelman encourages those who are concerned about justice issues to consider helping the Whites:

And now, they need some help. My heart goes out to them.

Please send a contribution to Gary White so that he can obtain counsel:

Mr. Gary White
7032 Greenwood Lane
Leeds, AL 35094

Siegelman also provides perspective on the state of our justice system since George W. Bush and Karl Rove came to power:

There is no doubt in my mind that if (Gary White) had lied, as they apparently asked, he would have never been hassled. This is the sad state that this Rove inspired investigation sank to in my case.

1 comment:

Chris Brown said...

Until someone, in some administration, is willing to step up and put a stop to the corrupt Justice machine, nothing will change. I am so disappointed that we are 18 months into a new administration and nothing has been done to address the documented misconduct in the Justice Department. Leura Canary is going no where as long as Senator Jeff Sessions continues to support her continued appointment. It is indeed a sad state of affairs.