Thursday, May 10, 2018

In documentary about the Don Siegelman prosecution, Rob Riley serves as a "Forrest Gump" character, the guy who is always around when big, ugly events occur

I recently watched the Don Siegelman documentary for a second time and noticed something I missed on initial viewing: The movie includes a Forrest Gump-type of character, a guy who always is around when key events are about to happen -- especially if they are underhanded acts designed to harm Siegelman.

The character is Republican operative and Homewood, Alabama, attorney Rob Riley. We often refer to him here as Rob "Uday" Riley, the oily son of former Gov. Bob Riley. Let's review five key moments where Rob Riley appears in Atticus v. the Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman:

(1) "We'll win" -- Former Birmingham broadcast journalist Rick Journey appears in the film to recall his coverage on election night 2002, when a tight governor's race had been declared for Siegelman over Bob Riley.

"I would guess around 11 or so . . . Rob Riley came out, and I was live . . . , and Rob Riley looked at me and said, "Rick, do you want a story?"

On television, Rob Riley said: "Due to the fact the media has been reporting what we now can confirm is a 6,000-vote discrepancy . . . the numbers simply don't add up."

From Rick Journey: [Rob Riley said] "We win this race," and at that point, it was off to the races."

Did Rob Riley know what was about to happen? Rick Journey's words indicate the answer is yes.

(2) "The hanging judge" -- From Bob Abrams, former attorney general of New York: "Jill Simpson indicated Rob Riley further went on to tell her that they had a judge picked out to preside over any Siegelman trial. And this judge was Mark Fuller, and he could be counted upon to hang Don Siegelman."

Rob Riley knew in advance that Siegelman was going to be cheated in court? Is this a crime, such as obstruction of justice? It sure sounds like it.

(3) "Hiring Rob Riley?" -- Narrator: "Bob Riley summoned Milton McGregor, owner of VictoryLand, the state's largest casino and primary competition for Indian casinos, to his office and had a point-blank demand."

McGregor: "Within 10 minutes of walking into that conference room, he made it real clear what he wanted to talk about: He wanted me to hire Rob Riley as one of my attorneys. It wasn't a request; it was like a demand, which didn't sit very well with me. I didn't tell him I would think about it. I told him no."

Did Bob Riley seek extortion money, via legal fees for his son? Sure sounds like it.

(4) "The Prosecutor-Rob Riley affair" -- Narrator: "During the House investigation into the matter, an email surfaced from an unidentified federal prosecutor, sent to Rob Riley, who was working on his father's campaign. In the email, the sender complained that he had been "thwarted" for beginning an investigation into the Siegelman administration.

"That person also stated it was 'frustrating for me and a small group of like-minded conservative prosecutors to fight the tide in order to do the job we were going to do.' The question is why would a federal prosecutor who helped begin the Siegelman investigation make such a plea to Rob Riley unless they and the Rileys were united in their efforts. A bigger question arises: Why did this prosecutor identify himself as a conservative to another conservative if politics were not involved?"

The unknown prosecutor is widely believed to be Matt Hart, now with the Alabama attorney general's office.

(5) "Jill Simpson and Rob Riley" -- Whistle blower Jill Simpson testified that Bill Canary said on a conference phone call that "his girls" (his wife, Leura Canary, and Alice Martin, both U.S. attorneys) would take care of Siegelman.

Simpson also stated that Rob Riley would have Mark Fuller assigned to the case, and he was "willing to hang Siegelman."

If you have not watched the Siegelman documentary, we encourage you to do so. As you watch, we encourage you to make note of Rob Riley's role in the Siegelman case and ask yourself, "Just how sleazy is this guy?"

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