Monday, January 8, 2018

"Atticus v. The Architect," documentary about the political prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, now is available online via Amazon

A documentary about the political prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman now is available online via Amazon.

Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman is available via Amazon streaming for $4.99. It can be purchased via an Amazon electronic link for $14.99.

Also, the DVD can be purchased at the following link. And it is expected to be on iTunes in a few days.

Directed by Steve Wimberly, the film is a detailed account of the role corrupt Republican operatives -- including Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, and Bill Canary -- played in launching a campaign to remove Siegelman as a political opponent by having him and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy unlawfully prosecuted and sent to federal prison for roughly six years each. "The Architect" is a reference to Karl Rove, former political adviser to George W. Bush.

Here is the film description from Amazon:

The story behind the most notorious political prosecution in American history. How a corrupt cadre of politicos, led by Karl Rove, secretly rigged a federal court to railroad former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman into jail because they couldn't beat him at the polls. It exposes the dark underbelly of political corruption, and reveals the moral crisis plaguing American politics.

Legal Schnauzer has published several hundred posts about the Siegelman case -- the most extensive coverage available anywhere -- and was used as a resource during production of the film.

Since its premiere last May at Birmingham's classic Alabama Theatre, Atticus has been screened at a number of theatres around the South -- often with Siegelman on hand to take questions afterwards. A screening at the Davis Theatre in Montgomery drew a capacity crowd after the Capri Theatre backed out of a plan to show the film, under pressure from board member and former federal prosecutor Leura Canary.

Amazon is providing the first widespread distribution of the film.

A key point in the movie comes when Montgomery attorney Tommy Gallion, a longtime Republican figure on the state and national scenes, reveals that he received an invitation to a meeting where the Siegelman prosecution was to be discussed. Gallion, repulsed by the idea, declined the invitation, but plans called for Karl Rove to attend the meeting.

The documentary generally has received stellar reviews, as we reported last August:

A documentary about the political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is "worth your time and your anger," according to a review at the Alabama Political Reporter (APR). The Prattville-based news site pledged to help arrange a showing of the film in Montgomery. . . .

Josh Moon, of APR, says the documentary makes for a powerful viewing experience. He calls it "scorching." From his review:

No wonder Leura Canary didn’t want people to see the Siegelman documentary.

“Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman” is a scorching documentary, particularly if you’re one of the many Republican officials who played a role in the prosecution of Alabama’s former Governor.

The film does not offer much in the way of new information about the Siegelman case, Moon writes. But it takes a complex story and presents it in a solid, professional, understandable package for a mainstream audience:

For all of the local attention this film has received – thanks in large part to Canary’s pushback against allowing the film to be shown in Montgomery — “Atticus” doesn’t really reveal much in the way of new information. What it does – and it’s the first medium to do so – is put the whole sordid ordeal in one tidy package that’s easy for the common person to digest.

That alone would be reason enough for Canary and others to want it stopped. Because it’s only through that perspective, with all of the facts and the sequence of events laid out before you, that you understand the grandness of the scheme against Siegelman. And it is only through that perspective that the impossibility of such a grand conspiracy can be removed, and the lengths and depths to which some will go to gain a political advantage can be exposed.

Here is more from Moon's review:

Starting with the 2002 gubernatorial race between Siegelman and Bob Riley, “Atticus,” written and directed by Steve Wimberly, travels a course of corruption, much of which it lays at the feet of Riley, Republican operative Karl Rove, Billy and Leura Canary and Eric Holder.

It features interviews with some of the state’s most powerful and well-known political players. And there’s even an appearance by the most famous crooked lobbyist in DC, Jack Abramoff, who recounts in detail how he and his Choctaw Indian pals forked out $20 million to beat back a lottery and to get rid of Siegelman.

By the end, you walk away with two thoughts: Alabama politics is dirtier than I imagined (which is saying something) and Don Siegelman shouldn’t have been indicted, much less convicted.

It is well worth your time, and your anger.

For those who might want to conduct in-depth research -- either before or after watching the film -- we recommend our five-part series, "The Cheating of Don Siegelman." It is an extensive examination of the role judicial corruption -- at both the trial and appellate level -- played in the Siegelman debacle. From that series:

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals cheated former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman in multiple ways. The most glaring example involves the statute of limitations, so we will start there.

It's undisputed that the government was tardy in bringing bribery charges against Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy.

All of the activity that constituted the alleged bribery took place in summer 1999. But the government's original indictment was dated May 17, 2005. That's almost one full year past the five-year statute of limitations.

Even if Siegelman and Scrushy had committed the worst sort of bribery--and the facts and the law show that they didn't commit bribery at all--the government missed the boat by a long shot.

Below is the film's trailer:

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