Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Alabama Republicans planned to include Karl Rove in a meeting to discuss Don Siegelman indictment, according to affidavit from lawyer Tommy Gallion

Tommy Gallion
A veteran Montgomery lawyer says he was invited to a meeting where Alabama Republicans were to discuss a political prosecution of former governor Don Siegelman, according to an affidavit in a pending federal lawsuit. Former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove was hoping to attend the meeting.

Tommy Gallion, who has been involved with the Republican Party since 1972, says the late Winton Blount III invited him to a meeting, where a group of Republicans were to discuss their plan to work with newly appointed U.S. Attorney Leura Canary to indict Siegelman. Blount, a former gubernatorial candidate and chair of the Alabama Republican Party, died in February 2015. (The Gallion affidavit is embedded at the end of this post.)

Siegelman, in fact, was indicted and was convicted (along with former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy) in what has become known as the most notorious political prosecution in U.S. history. It is the subject of a documentary titled Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman, which has been shown at a number of locations around the Southeast in recent months.

Gallion's sworn statement is entered as an exhibit in a pending federal lawsuit, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that attorney Joseph Siegelman (Don's son) brought, seeking records about Canary's supposed recusal in the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution. Records in that lawsuit, before U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala, show the U.S. Department of Justice turned over the requested documents to the court on April 10.

Almost seven months later, Haikala still has not made a ruling. According to the court docket, she is to conduct an in camera ("in the chamber") review of the records. Will she turn the documents over to the Siegelman team, make them public, keep them under wraps, or choose another option? That remains unknown, but the Gallion affidavit could be a key factor in her decision.

U.S. Judge Madeline Haikala
Gallion's sworn statement seems to support the claims of Alabama activist, opposition researcher, and retired attorney Jill Simpson, who testified before Congress about a conference call where Business Council of Alabama president Bill Canary discussed a plan for "his girls" (Leura Canary and fellow U.S. attorney Alice Martin) to "take care of" Don Siegelman. Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley, was among other Republicans reportedly on the call.

Gallion's affidavit is dated January 22, 2016. From the document:

Sometime in late 2001 or early 2002, I received a telephone call from my long-time friend Winton Blount III, son of former Republican Post Master General Winton M. "Red" Blount. Winton informed me that a group of Republicans in Alabama had set up a plan, which he called "Operation 2010," Their goal was to gain control of all branches of Alabama government -- the executive. legislative, and judicial -- by 2010. He explained that, as part of this plan, a newly appointed Republican U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama, Leura Canary, would work with the group to prosecute state wide elected Democrats and their supporters. Winton further told me that Republican Congressman Bob Riley was running for governor against Governor Don Siegelman, and that they planned to indict Siegelman in the middle of the upcoming election.
Winton said there was an upcoming meeting, which he invited me to attend. He told me that a group of Republicans would meet and that Karl Rove was hoping to attend to discuss the plan.

Gallion quickly realized he did not want to become involved with such a scheme, and it eventually caused him to cut ties with the Republican Party:

Stunned by what Winton had told me, I made it very clear to him that I wanted no part of the meeting and plainly stated that I would not be participating in their plan. I told Winton that this type of political prosecution was deplorable and told him as his life-long friend he should not get involved. He replied it is already moving forward and that the plan would work.
When I read in the newspaper that Governor Don Siegelman had been indicted by a federal grand jury, I could not believe what I was reading. When Mrs. Canary continued to indict Democratic legislators, lobbyists, and large contributors, I decided I no longer desired to be involved in any political party that would carry out such a specious and unconstitutional scheme.

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