Monday, October 11, 2010

Prisoner In Siegelman Case Is Being Denied Medication

Gary White

Gary White, a former commissioner in Jefferson County, Alabama, became the target of a federal investigation after he refused to give false testimony in the Don Siegelman case. Now White is in a South Carolina prison, where he is being denied his medication, according to a report by Joan Brunwasser at OpEd News.

White, 63, takes medication for a number of conditions, including hypertension. Judy White says her husband has been denied his medication since he arrived at the prison in Edgefield, South Carolina, on September 29. After contacting a number of prison and public officials to no avail, Judy White sent an e-mail yesterday to President Barack Obama, asking him to intervene.

"Among Gary's medical conditions about which I am most desperately concerned is his high blood pressure, which was being carefully monitored and controlled by medication," Judy White wrote. "Being innocent, but prosecuted and imprisoned certainly would exacerbate most medical problems, with blood pressure being of paramount concern. Without proper treatment and medication, Gary could imminently suffer a stroke, an aneurysm, or even death."

Gary White is a classic example of fallout from the Siegelman case. While serving as a county commissioner, White was a moderate Republican, often crossing party lines to work with Democrats on matters involving the Birmingham metro area. That earned him enemies among some staunch conservatives. Matters became worse when White introduced Siegelman to former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. That introduction led to a meeting that was at the heart of the bribery charge against Siegelman and Scrushy.

The prosecution would end with a conviction, but it came without help from Gary White. Judy White has testified in an affidavit that federal authorities pressured her husband to testify in a certain way about the Siegelman-Scrushy meeting. When Gary White said such testimony was not truthful and refused to cooperate, he immediately became the target of a federal investigation. Reports Brunwasser:

Mr. White refused to participate in a wrongful prosecution. Federal prosecutors made their case without his help and then prosecuted White for bribery and conspiracy; they began delivering subpoenas the very day after he refused to comply with their demands. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in federal prison. After being directed to bring all prescription medications, when he arrived at federal prison on September 29, White told his wife that his medications were immediately confiscated. Earlier today, he reported that he is still without medication, despite daily requests. Mrs. White has called and wrote prison officials warning them of the dire consequences and begging them to provide the prescribed medications, all to no avail.

After contacting members of their delegation, the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, the Bureau of Prisons, Office of Inspector General, and the Regional Office with oversight of the prison, Judy White is now appealing directly to President Obama to right this wrong.

Judy White insists that her husband was wrongfully convicted, and considering that the prosecution was directed by the abominable former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, we suspect Mrs. White is right about that. Aside from the merits of the government's case, the record is clear that Gary White was prosecuted simply because he refused to give false testimony against Don Siegelman. That would make his case one of the ugliest political prosecutions of the George W. Bush era. And like the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, the White case shows that moderate Republicans could become targets, along with Democrats.

An appeal is pending in the Gary White case. But for now, Judy White mainly is concerned about her husband's health.

"I love my husband, and do not want him to suffer from medical neglect or abuse or even die; he was not given a death sentence by the judge," Judy White wrote to Obama. "I hope and expect he will prevail on appeal and be freed from the destruction inflicted upon our family. In addition to being my husband, he is a loving and devoted father to our five children, an enamored grandfather to his only grandson, a loving and concerned son to his elderly and ill parents, as well as my parents, the only brother to his sisters, a caring and engaged uncle to numerous nieces and nephews, a wonderful brother-in-law, and the best friend anyone could ever hope to have. Please help all of us to save his life and health."

Here is Judy White's full letter, sent via e-mail, to President Obama:

Judy White Obama

1 comment:

Redeye said...

All hate all the time. Is that the American way?