Thursday, April 12, 2018

Don Siegelman and Doug Jones had a heated political discussion shortly before former governor needed heart surgery and his son announced run for AG

Don Siegelman and Doug Jones
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) engaged in a heated political discussion shortly before Siegelman was forced to go to the doctor and wound up having heart surgery, sources tell Legal Schnauzer.

Siegelman had heart-bypass surgery on Feb. 9, the same day that his son, Joseph, qualified to run as a Democrat in the 2018 race for Alabama attorney general. Joseph Siegelman's political plans were at the heart of a tense conversation between Jones and Don Siegelman, sources say.

Don Siegelman, apparently under the mistaken impression that Jones would be supportive of the younger Siegelman's plans, asked the senator for an endorsement. Jones declined, which should not have been a surprise considering the evidence of his support for the other Democrat in the race, Bradley Arant lawyer Chris Christie.

Jones' negative reaction to the idea of a Joseph Siegelman endorsement should not have been a surprise for several other reasons:

(1) Jones clearly has been aligned with the so-called "Alabama Gang" of Republicans -- including Rob Riley, Bill Canary, Jeff Sessions, and Karl Rove -- dating at least to the work Jones and Riley did together in the early 2000s on a lawsuit against HealthSouth and related entities, a case that generated more than $50 million in attorney fees.

(2) Jones was Don Siegelman's defense attorney for a time in the federal bribery case that wound up unlawfully sending the former governor to federal prison for roughly six years. Jones inexplicably extended the statute of limitations for the government to built a case it obviously didn't have at the time. Jones also charged Siegelman $300,000 while doing relatively little legal work -- and then bailed out of the case before trial because of a conflict on Jones' end. We've seen no sign that Jones returned any of the money, and he has refused to answer our questions on the subject. To add insult to insult, Jones went before a Congressional committee in 2007 and talked glowingly about Bill Pryor, the current federal judge who, as Alabama AG in the late 1990s, launched the Siegelman investigation before the new governor's fanny barely had hit the office chair.

(3) Jones apparently favors Chris Christie, even though a prominent spokesperson for the Christie campaign is Sirote Permutt lawyer Barry Ragsdale. That's the same Barry Ragsdale who helped former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller fight charges that he beat his wife in an Atlanta hotel room -- events that led to Fuller's forced resignation from the bench. Fuller, of course, is the judge who oversaw the Siegelman trial, repeatedly making unlawful and one-sided rulings that helped ensure a conviction. Jones essentially supports a candidate whose campaign has ties to wife beating and the kind of judicial corruption that sends innocent people to prison.

What's the No. 1 reason Jones doesn't support Joseph Siegelman? It's possible the younger Siegelman would be a tough, competent attorney general -- probably the first Alabama AG with integrity since Jimmy Evans (1991-95). The last thing Jones and his right-wing associates want is a competent AG who might take a critical glance at some of their under-handed activities in recent years. Here is how we put it in a recent post:

Why is Joseph Siegelman's run for the AG's office generating blow back from establishment Democrats and Republican? The answer, to me, is obvious. Many of those establishment types -- Rob Riley, Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones, Bill Canary, Mark Fuller, Leura Canary and many more -- were deeply involved in the crooked prosecution that caused Don Siegelman to land in prison.

The establishment knows that a real attorney general, such as Joseph Siegelman, still could pursue any number of civil or criminal claims that are not barred by the statute of limitations. And that means a Joseph Siegelman tenure as AG could help put some of them -- and their brethren -- behind bars, where they belong. No wonder they support Chris Christie, who likely is to serve as their protector.

In other words, Joseph Siegelman could be a threat to Doug Jones and the right-wing thugs who helped him land in the U.S. Senate. Don Siegelman apparently does not grasp that, and we can't imagine why.


Anonymous said...

I'm no expert on this, but I wonder if having a bad heart blockage affected Siegelman's thinking and ability to handle stress at the time of his conversation with Jones.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:22 --

That's a good point, and like you, I don't have an answer. I have found it odd that Siegelman developed heart problems, even though he's probably the most fit individual to ever serve in Alabama governor. He long has worked hard at staying in shape, but a genetic predisposition can be a factor in these things. Spending years fighting a bogus prosecution and being in prison for six years or more doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

Siegelman needs to read Legal Schnauzer closer. If he did, he would have known Doug Jones was not about to endorse Joseph S.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the stress of repeatedly being cheated in court and spending all that time in prison -- horrible food, frightful conditions all around -- probably contributed to Don's heart issues. He is a very health-conscious guy, one of the last people I would expect to have these issues.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting Doug Jones contributed to Siegelman's heart problems?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:37 --

Does the story say that? Of course not. If anything, Jones (in a roundabout way) might have saved Siegelman's life by causing a flare-up of the blockage that sent Don to the doctor. I doubt Jones intended to be helpful, but he might have helped, in spite of himself.

Anonymous said...

I hope Don can bring a personal-injury lawsuit to go with his RICO case. Someone needs to be held accountable for the health issues he now has after wrongfully spending six years in prison.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if U.S. Judge Madeline Haikala ever will rule on Joseph Siegelman's FOIA case. She's been sitting on those DOJ documents for almost a year, and that makes me think there is some explosive stuff there in the documents. Something is crooked about Haikala's stall game.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Don Siegelman: Doug Jones is loyal to Rob Riley and Bill Canary. He is not loyal to you, and he never will be. Get that through your head.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what makes anyone think Joseph Siegelman would be a good attorney general.

Anonymous said...

No way Alabama is electing a Democrat for AG. No matter how bad the GOP field is, a Republican will be the winner.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why Don Siegelman cares about a Jones endorsement. Jones only won the Senate seat because of Bentley's corruption, Strange's incompetence, and all the pervy stories (true or not) about Roy Moore. Jones is a one-termer with no political clout, so why worry about his endorsement.