Friday, February 29, 2008

Siegelman Case Update

I've been reading Naomi Wolf's "The End of America" and last night read how when she initially heard about the U.S. Attorneys Scandal, she predicted, to a friend, that the attorneys replaced would be in swing states, where politically-motivated prosecutions could swing elections. What was scary about her description was that she said she knew this, as she'd been reading about Joseph Goebbels at the time and sensed that Karl Rove was behind this.

But as much as the Siegelman case is being described in horserace terms, the 60 Minutes story featured former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who is both a Republican and godfather to John McCain's children.

But Grant Woods, the former attorney general of Arizona, says the case should never have gone to trial. “The prosecutor's gotta look at it and say, ‘Hey, is this the sort of thing that we're really talking about when we're talking about bribery?’ Because what the public needs to know here is there is no allegation that Don Siegelman ever put one penny in his pocket,” he says.

Richard Scrushy did make donations totaling $500,000 to that education lottery campaign, and after serving on the hospital board under three previous governors, Scrushy was re-appointed by Siegelman.

But Woods says that’s politics, not bribery. “You do a bribery when someone has a real personal benefit. Not, ‘Hey, I would like for you to help out on this project which I think is good for my state.’ If you're going to start indicting people and putting them in prison for that, then you might as well just build nine or ten new federal prisons because that happens everyday in every statehouse, in every city council, and in the Congress of the United States,” he says.

“What you seem to be saying here is that this is analogous to giving a great deal of money to a presidential campaign. And as a result, you become ambassador to Paris,” Pelley remarks.

“Exactly. That's exactly right,” Woods says.

Siegelman was campaigning in the 2006 Democratic primary as he went to trial. “We’re going to turn this bus into what we call the night shift, because after the trial every day we’re gonna be hittin the trail every day,” he said.

But he lost in the primary. After two months, the jury deadlocked twice, then, voted to convict on its third deliberation. Many legal minds were shocked when federal judge Mark Fuller, at sentencing, sent Siegelman directly to prison without allowing the usual 45 days before reporting.

“He had him manacled around his legs like we do with crazed killers. And whisked off to prison just like that. Now what does that tell you? That tells you that this was personal. You would not do that to a former governor,” Woods says.

“Would you do that to any white collar criminal?” Pelley asks.

“No, I haven't seen it done,” Woods says.

“Help me understand something. You're blaming the Republican administration for this prosecution. You're saying it was a political prosecution. You are a Republican. How do I reconcile that?” Pelley asks.

We're Americans first. And you got to call it as you see it. And you got to stand up for what's right in this country,” Woods says.

Now former Reagan administration official, and obvious Republican, Paul Craig Roberts summarizes the case like this:

The Siegelman case makes it clear exactly what Bush, Rove, and the disgraced Bush flunky, Alberto Gonzales, intended by firing the eight Republican US attorneys. These eight refused to politicize their office by falsely prosecuting Democrats in order to achieve a Rovian political agenda. Apparently, there were only eight honest persons among the 1,200 Republican US attorneys. Bush, Rove, and Gonzales had no problem with the other 1,192.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts said that justice in America today is about political agendas, "not about convicting real criminals." Butts said that Siegelman’s attorneys and allies expect reprisals from the US attorney’s office and Alabama’s Republican establishment.

Karl Rove refused to testify about the case before Congress.

On February 25, Fox "News" gave Karl Rove airtime in which to deny the accusations and evidence against him, which he did.

The Department of Justice [sic] refuses to release Siegelman trial documents to Congress.

Siegelman’s family home was broken into.

Siegelman’s attorney’s office was broken into and ransacked.

Jill Simpson’s house was burned down, and her car was run off the road.

This is the way "justice" works in Bush Republican Amerika.

Think about that last line and remember that Roberts is a "a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades."

Has he changed or have the Neocons taken the Republican party in a direction that's non-conservative, where the Justice Department becomes a tool of Bush's Brain?

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