Monday, June 6, 2011

Bush-Era U.S. Attorney Is the Target of a Federal Investigation

Leura Canary

Leura Canary, the notorious Bush-appointed prosecutor who was at the heart of the Don Siegelman case, is the focus of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, sources tell Legal Schnauzer.

Canary announced her retirement as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on May 26. But sources say the ongoing federal investigation is the real reason Canary stepped down, even though Obama nominee George Beck has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Louis Franklin will serve as acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District, pending Beck's confirmation.

long-awaited Alabama federal bingo prosecution, featuring gambling magnate Milton McGregor and a number of state legislators, begins today in Montgomery. It is expected to last about two months and figures to be the biggest story of the summer in Alabama. But the investigation of Canary could prove to be the far bigger story, with potentially major ramifications on the national stage.

After all, the Canary investigation could lead to individuals who have helped shape her political agenda, such as former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue. The investigation also could show that the Obama Justice Department is not as useless as it currently appears, indicating Attorney General Eric Holder is willing to "look backwards" at apparent misconduct of the previous administration.

Technically, Canary has been under investigation by the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) since June 2008. But we've seen no sign that Canary actually has been under genuine scrutiny. Sources, however, say that changed about two months ago--and the investigation now is serious enough that it prompted Canary to "retire."

Who is leading the Canary investigation? Why did it suddenly heat up about two months ago? What is the focus of the probe (the Siegelman case, the bingo case, something else, all of the above)? We don't have the answers to those questions yet. But sources say that Leura Canary, for perhaps the first time since her appointment, is feeling real heat.

One source, with close ties to the Middle District office, was "shocked" to hear of Canary's retirement. The U.S. attorney had made "adamant promises" to her staff that she would not leave until her successor was confirmed, our source says.

What could a genuine investigation of Leura Canary mean on the national level? Her husband, Bill Canary, is president of the Business Council of Alabama and a long-time ally of Thomas Donohue and Karl Rove. In fact, Canary and Rove used funds from the U.S. Chamber and other corporate sponsors in the 1990s to help turn Alabama's Supreme Court from Democratic to Republican control.

It's hard to imagine that an investigation of Leura Canary would not encompass her husband. If both Canarys wind up under the white-hot light, they could point investigators to the individuals and entities who have been pulling their strings. That could lead to Tom Donohue, Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber, even the Bush White House.

Is there some wishful thinking on my part in that last paragraph? Yes there is. Since news outlets reported that Florida suddenly had turned in George W. Bush's favor on election night 2000, we have seen one Republican scandal after another covered up or ignored. Obama's utter failure on justice issues, so far, has been shameful for a president who pledged to change the toxic environment he inherited.

As a colossal cynic on justice matters, I fully expect Leura Canary and her henchmen to somehow wriggle off the hook. But for the first time in 10-plus years, I'm seeing a glimmer of hope that someone in authority might be taking Alabama's justice cesspool seriously.

Leura Canary played a leading role in creating that cesspool, and sources say the seat under her fanny is getting warm. If justice still matters at all in this country, Canary's seat soon will become scorching hot. And some of her puppeteers might start feeling a tad uncomfortable, too.

[Photo: Montgomery Advertiser]


Anonymous said...

Prince moved to Virginia Beach and personally financed the formation of Blackwater Worldwide in 1997.
Susan Burke, who represents two self-described whistle-blowers and former employees Brad and Melan Davis, said she questioned Prince for seven hours in a hotel in Abu Dhabi, where he moved earlier this month. She said the questioning related to the "facts underlying the complaint."

"Mr. Prince professed a lack of knowledge on a significant number of topics," Burke said without providing details of the deposition. "I will not comment on his testimony. I will leave that to a jury to decide whether his professions of a lack of knowledge are credible or not."
No wonder the spoiled brat billionaire professed a lack of knowledge on a significant number of topics.

These criminals have been under investigation.

Anonymous said...

Note to the puppets: Canaries sing.

mikkrikk said...

As Scott Horton has written in a couple of articles: at the DOJ Roach Motel, cases check into OPR, but they don't check out.

Anonymous said...

How ironic that an investigation of Leura Canary may survive and come to fruition during an election year. Like Roger, I suspect Canary's powerful benefactors in Washington will find some way to divert any legitimate investigation into her activities. However, there is hope that justice will prevail. A valid investigation will reveal widespread corruption during Canary's 10 year tenure in the Middle District of Alabama. I wonder if she still gets retirement benefits from DOJ while she is in federal prison?

choggs said...

Get the popcorn out. I'm going to dig a little deeper. This deserves some attention.

As we know how these things work like Mr. Shuler blogs don't get your hopes up folks.

This is a long way from restoring my faith in justice system. However, I mean this is a step in the right direction. We've been screaming this in the deep south for 10 years now. Hopefully, someone will bring justice to the wrongfully accused and their families and friends.

pray for redemtion

Max Shelby said...

And if redemption doesn't work light up the torches and grab the pitchforks.

Anonymous said...

It is significant that the interim U.S. Attorney is Louis Franklin, Canary's #1 henchman. Franklin is well known not for his morality and ethical conduct, but for leading the espirit de corps of Canary's corrupt enterprise. Remember Franklin was "Acting" U.S. Attorney for the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution...acting however Leura Canary directed him to act. Franklin is in too deep to turn back now.

trotsky said...

How long until the statute of limitations runs out on this? The whole thing could just be for show just like Obama's kabuki with Netanyahu. Making the appearance of doing something take the place of actually doing something for his election prospects.

The entire federal bureaucracy is infested with stay behinds from the previous criminal administration, people who are going to be doing damage to our country for decades to come.

legalschnauzer said...


That's an interesting question about statute of limitations. SOLs are a tricky business. Often depends on the crime that is charged, and of course, when it occurred. If it is an ongoing crime, I believe the last incident is the key. Sometimes, the main crime can occur, but more crimes can occur in an effort to cover that up. I suspect some of Canary's misconduct, if proven, would fall well within the statute of limitations, meaning she could be prosecuted. An irony: the Siegelman charges, even if taken as true, clearly fell outside the statute of limitations. Of course, the issue in the Siegelman case was not whether certain events took place. It was, did these actions even constitute a crime. And under the actual law, they did not.

Anonymous said...

I saw the 60 Minutes interview with Siegleman in which he said that the votes were switched by the Baldwin Co. sheriff after clearing the room of all press. Riley won even though before the votes were recounted, Siegleman said he had been winning. Were there ever any further allegations regarding this? I can't imagine that the Baldwin Co. sheriff just let such accusations stand (unless they were true, of course). I have been following this case with great interest and my first real disappointment with the Obama Admin. was because of this case. Dianne

legalschnauzer said...


Here is one of several posts I've written about the Baldwin County story:

Robby Scott Hill said...

Louis Franklin. This is the guy who was able to send one of my associates to the joint on a conspiracy to commit murder charge even though he didn't present any significant evidence at trial. Anything is possible when you know too much about "The Enterprise."

Panamaed said...

I hear Karl Rove has been subpoenaed to testify in a civil matter in Ohio, so anything is possible.