December 18, 2007
The questionable prosecution and conviction of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (D) gains increased attention as this 2004 video interview becomes more widely known in the blogosphere. In it, Siegelman charges election officials with fraud in his 2002 race for Governor in Alabama.
Siegelman spoke candidly with Julie Sigwart of Take Back the Media on Sept. 13, 2004, long before “the Governor was finally put away on trumped-up charges by the Alabama GOP,” reports Mark Crispin Miller. In June 2007, Siegelman was sentenced to over seven years in prison and fined $50,000 for bribery, from which he never personally benefited.
In 2002, Alabama used ES&S optical scan voting systems, where 6,300 votes suddenly became lost, granting the gubernatorial victory to Republican Bob Riley. Siegelman related:
What had occurred on Election Night to me is inexplicable in any way other than somebody electronically manipulated the election results to swing the election from me to my Republican opponent.
Take Back the Media reports that the victory was initially awarded to Siegelman in his 2002 bid for re-election. But after midnight, when all pollworkers and media had gone home, Siegelman somehow lost 6,300 votes in an “illegal recount” by Republican election officials.
According to Siegelman, he was the only candidate to lose votes in that closed-door recount which occurred after midnight, and the Republican candidate for governor, Bob Riley, was the only candidate to gain votes among all the races in that election.
He was confounded, “These Republican election officials, and the Attorney General and the District Attorney from that county, threatened to put anybody in jail if they allowed a hand recount.” On November 8, 2002, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor denied the recount which Siegelman initially sought.
At the time, Karl Rove served as Pryor’s political consultant.
Rather than contest the matter further, Siegelman decided to let it go and run again in 2006, and that’s where his election fraud charges against the GOP come back to bite him. After he announced his candidacy in 2005, Siegelman became the target of malicious prosecution, apparently directed by the White House.
On December 13, 2007, MSNBC reporter Dan Abrams discussed Siegelman’s case in his Bush League Justice series, Alabama Outrage. Abrams characterizes this matter as:
…a case that led 44 former state Attorneys General, Democrats and Republicans, to complain of irregularities in the investigation and prosecution. They even said it called into “question the basic fairness that is the linchpin of our system of justice.”
That is hardly surprising considering that there were allegations and even witnesses who said that then-Presidential advisor Karl Rove convinced the U.S. Attorney to prosecute.
Questions about the impartiality of Judge Mark Fuller are raised since he was a major stockholder in Doss Aviation, Inc. that “has done $258 million in business with the federal government, the military and the FBI since its inception,” explained attorney Julian McPhillips on Special Report with Raymond Johnson, in May 2007. Judge Fuller disclosed in his 2004 and 2005 financial records that he received between $100,000 and $1 million from this holding.
The FBI was also involved in the investigation of Siegelman. Columbia Law professorScott Horton has been covering the story in Harper’s Magazine and details the apparent conflicts of interest in Judge Fuller adjudicating this matter:
Doss Aviation and its subsidiaries also held contracts with the FBI. This is problematic when one considers that FBI agents were present at Siegelman’s trial, and that Fuller took the extraordinary step of inviting them to sit at counsel’s table throughout the trial. Moreover, while the case was pending, Doss Aviation received a $178 million contract from the federal government.
In another video by MSNBC’s Dan Abrams, Scott Horton and former federal prosecutor, Alabama Congressman Arthur Davis provide a clear and concise discussion of the Bush Administration’s use of the Justice Department to target opposition Democrats.
The question arises as to whether the U.S. Department of Justice has been wholly compromised.
Scott Horton. Prosecutorial Obstruction of Justice in the Siegelman Case. Harper’s Magazine. Nov. 2, 2007.
Julie Sigwart. Don Siegelman Speaks, Take Back the Media video, Oct. 13, 2004.
Mark Crispin Miller. Siegelman Speaks: Ex-Gov calls ’02 election “stolen” by the White House! Exclusive to News from Underground. Dec. 17, 2007.
Scott Horton. Siegelman Sentenced: Riley Rushes to Washington. Harper’s Magazine. June 28, 2007.
Peter G. Neumann. Reversed 2002 Election Results in Alabama Still Unexplained. The Risks Digest: Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems, Feb. 27, 2003.
Bill Pryor, Alabama Attorney General. Elections, Ballots, Election Contests, Recounts. Letter to Secretary of State Jim Bennett. Nov. 8, 2002.
Dan Abrams. Bush League Justice: Alabama Outrage. MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams video. Dec. 13, 2007.
Raymond Johnson, Special Report with Raymond Johnson. WOTM video. Accessed Dec. 18, 2007
Julian Phillips received the Man of Distinction Award from the Alabama chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council in 2000, the first-ever white man to receive this honor. An attorney for We the People, Phillips has successfully represented victims of sex-, age- and race-discrimination, has pursued questionable activities of elected officials, and has successfully won acquittal in five death penalty cases. Click here.
Scott Horton. The Pork Barrel World of Judge Mark Fuller. Harper’s Magazine. Nov. 2, 2007.
Dan Abrams. Bush League Justice: Using DOJ to Imprison the Competition. MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams video. Dec. 13, 2007.
Rady Ananda. US to NY: You Gotta HAVA Faulty Voting Machine. Nov. 7, 2007.