Most importantly, the recent reports indicate Rob Riley was at the heart of a plot against Siegelman, perhaps from the very beginning. This has dark implications because no one benefited more from the Siegelman case than Bob Riley (Rob's father), who went on to serve two terms as governor after "beating Siegelman" in a 2002 election where votes for the Democrat disappeared overnight in heavily Republican Baldwin County.
Former Time magazine reporter Adam Zagorin revealed the Rob Riley e-mail communication in a piece last month at Project for Government Oversight (POGO), and we picked up on the story here at Legal Schnauzer. Many questions remain about Rob Riley's e-mail correspondence--at a time when he was serving as his father's campaign manager, against Siegelman--and here are just a few of them:
* With which prosecutor did Riley communicate? Was he in contact with more than one on the case?
* What was the full extent of the e-mail exchange? For now, we have only a few words that the self-described "conservative prosecutor" wrote to Riley, saying he felt "thwarted" on the case. What was Rob Riley's response? What other issues were addressed?
* Did Rob Riley offer to take action to help the "conservative prosecutor"? If so, what did he do?
* Did Rob Riley offer to contact anyone on the "conservative prosecutor's" behalf? If so, who did he contact?
* Isn't this grounds for the U.S. Department of Justice to subpoena all of Riley's e-mail and phone records, to get a full view of exactly what he was doing? At the moment, Riley's actions point to possible obstruction of justice and perhaps even more serious crimes.
Rob Riley's e-mail communications with a prosecutor become even more alarming when you consider them in light of what Jill Simpson already has stated before Congress. Here are key points Simpson made about Rob Riley, from a summary of her testimony published in The New York Times. (The full summary is embedded at the end of this post.)
Ms. Simpson described a 2005 conversation with Rob Riley in which Mr. Riley stated that, in late 2004, Karl Rove had contacted the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice to press for further prosecution of Don Siegelman, and had also stated that the case would be assigned to a federal judge who “hated” Mr. Siegelman and who would “hang Don Siegelman.” (50-57) According to Ms. Simpson, Mr. Riley stated:
* that the case against Don Siegelman in the Northern District had been “miserably messed up” by United States Attorney Alice Martin and had been dismissed by a federal Judge in 2004 (48-50);
* that, with that case out of the way, Mr. Siegelman was “the biggest threat” to Governor Bob Riley – Rob Riley’s father – in the coming 2006 Governor’s race (48);
* that the new case against Mr. Siegelman would be brought in the Middle District of Alabama and would be assigned to Chief Judge Mark Fuller, whom Rob Riley knew from college (50-53);
* that “Fuller would hang Don Siegelman” because he believed Mr. Siegelman had caused Fuller to be audited in a former position which had exposed some questionable financial dealings by Fuller (56-57); and
* that Mr. Siegelman would be indicted on charges related to Richard Scrushy because Mr. Scrushy was very unpopular and it would be useful to link the two men together. (84-85, 106).
Jill Simpson's sworn testimony before Congress points to possible criminality on the part of Rob Riley and others. Now, we know that Rob Riley was communicating via e-mail with at least one member of the prosecutorial team.
Just when you think the Siegelman saga can't get more disturbing . . . well, along comes this.