Friday, August 25, 2017

Don Siegelman's push to shine spotlight on corruption gains momentum with Neil Cavuto interview on Fox, plus report of documentary screening in Montgomery

Neil Cavuto
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman gained traction this week in his effort to shine light on corruption related to the political prosecution that sent him to prison for more than six years.

First came reports that a news Web site had arranged for a showing in Montgomery of the documentary Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman. Then came a mostly favorable interview yesterday with Neil Cavuto, of Fox News, in which Siegelman argued that President Donald Trump should pardon him.

A screening of the Siegelman documentary is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts on Troy University's Montgomery campus. (Note: Mrs. Schnauzer and I were fortunate to catch a concert by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in March 2007 at the Davis Theatre. As a long-time fan of Buckingham's work, I consider this perhaps the finest concert I've ever attended. And we give the Davis Theatre two thumbs up as a venue. It should be a fine place to view the Siegelman film.)

Prattville-based Alabama Political Reporter (APR) is sponsoring the showing, after the Capri Theatre canceled a scheduled screening because of complaints from board member Leura Canary, who was U.S. attorney for the Siegelman prosecution. From a report by APR's Josh Moon:

“Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman,” as the documentary is officially named, was originally set to be shown at the Capri Theater in Montgomery in July. But former Federal Prosecutor Leura Canary, who serves on the Capri board, convinced her fellow board members in June to rescind that rental agreement.

Montgomery residents were outraged, and a heated Capri board meeting a few days later ended in nasty exchanges but no change in the vote.

That’s when APR owners Bill and Susan Britt decided to step in.

“When we heard that the documentary showing in Montgomery had been cancelled because of pressure from the so-called political elites, it wasn’t surprising,” Bill Britt said. “We don’t like censorship at APR, and we decided we’d do whatever we could to give Montgomery residents an opportunity to see the film, to judge for themselves the contents of it.”

It only makes sense that the film be shown in Montgomery. But Moon reports it was a challenge to make the screening a reality, and it might not have happened without a push from Dr. Jack Hawkins, president of Troy University:

Much of that story took place in Montgomery, and the city served as a backdrop for much of the documentary.

Siegelman served as governor in this city. He was tried in this city and found guilty by a jury that resides in this city. Many of the people featured in the documentary reside in Montgomery.

And yet, time and again, APR ran into fear and bureaucracy when trying to find a location to show the film. Every venue was surprisingly busy or uninterested in accepting their usual rental fees to show “Atticus.” Some never returned calls. Others had exorbitant insurance demands.

Enter: Troy president Dr. Jack Hawkins. . . .

“We are committed to freedom of speech and transparency,” Hawkins wrote. “Within the Academy and within a free society there is little room for censorship.”

That did the trick. A contract was prepared and signed within days.

Many props to Hawkins, the Britts, APR, and Troy University for making this happen. How is this for irony? The Davis Theatre has a seating capacity of 1,200 (compared to 700 at Capri) and almost certainly is nicer and more spacious than the film house. Our message to Leura Canary and the cowards on the Capri's board: Stick it up your collective ass.

Davis Theatre, in Montgomery
As for the interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox, Siegelman pushed the argument that Trump should pardon him. Cavuto said that is unlikely to happen, and he's almost certainly correct -- in part, perhaps, because Trump might soon be headed toward impeachment, indictment, conviction, and imprisonment himself. With any luck, Attorney General and former Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who played a major role in the Siegelman prosecution, also will be headed for the federal slammer soon.

Cavuto did note the dubious nature of the Siegelman case, which also ensnared former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy:

Cavuto stated with amazement that "Normally you look for a big ole suitcase of cash but there was no suitcase and no cash [in your case.]"

He warned "this could happen to Republican or Democrat, anyone in power, because . . . [in] campaigns you get money. . . they could be perfectly innocent but all of a sudden it looks like a 'Pay to Play' deal."

The interview can be viewed at the link below:

Don Siegelman interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News


e.a.f. said...

Nice post. Gets the word out. Wonder if they will get the film a showing at the Sundance Film Festival? Would be a good thing to try. would also be a great film for PBS's Frontline or the C.B.C. in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Siegelman should have left out the stuff about a pardon from Trump. That sounds like a joke. Other than that, good interview with Fox.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Siegelman needs to cease with the references to "President Trump." It's like Don is legitimizing the Head Cheeto, and Trumpazoid is as illegitimate as they come.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was at that Lindsey Buckingham concert. Awesome. Best guitar player on the planet. Glad you mentioned it. Brings back good memories. You were living in Birmingham then?

legalschnauzer said...

@7:52 --

Yes, we were living in Birmingham then. In fact, I still was working at UAB. Bob and Rob Riley had not yet decided that I needed to be cheated out of my job for writing supportively about Don Siegelman on this blog. Come to think of it, the concert was in March 2007, and I started Legal Schnuazer in June 2007. No wonder I hadn't been cheated out of my job yet.

Anonymous said...

Here is the script Siegelman needs to use:

"Once Impostor Trump is impeached, indicted, convicted and incarcerated, President Hillary Clinton should pardon me."

Anonymous said...

Preet Bharara‏Verified account @PreetBharara

Jeff Sessions, potted plant. #joearpaio
7:08 PM - 25 Aug 2017

Anonymous said...

Siegelman needs to get all those docs related to Leura Canary's "recusal." They've been sitting before a judge now for months. What's the hold up?

legalschnauzer said...

@2:00 --

I've been wondering about the hold up myself. Seems pretty obvious there are explosive documents in there, or they would have been turned over years ago. I hope it goes beyond just Canary recusal documents. I hope it goes to communications between and among all members of the prosecution staff, and outsiders. That might point to exactly who was behind this thing, and who was targeted and damaged (besides Siegelman and Scrushy) in the process.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:51 --

Thanks for sharing the tweet. What do you think that means -- Jeff Sessions, potted plant?

Anonymous said...

Keeping in mind who Mr Bharara is, what he was until Trump fired him (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017), who he was investigating, who fired him...a look at Mr Bharara's recent tweets (start with this one: seems to be implying that a potted plant could do the same job that Jeff Sessions is doing as US Attorney General.

Personally...Sessions appears to fall somewhere between a rhododendron and a petunia....the USA could do better than would be difficult to do much worse than Sessions.

Anonymous said...

Also do a search for Jeff Sessions is a potted plant.. It could be trending! :-)

legalschnauzer said...

@3:45 --

Jeff Sessions as a cross between a rhododendron or petunia? Hah, great comment!

I bet you are right about what Bharara was getting at.

Anonymous said...

Or on second thought comparing Sessions to either a petunia or a rhododendron isn't fair to either petunias or rhododendrons. Now I'm wondering whether Sessions is more like a carrion planta? Always a bad smell in the vicinity, like something is rotting...