The New Yorker Magazine’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin last week advocated a presidential pardon for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
In writing Why Obama Should Pardon Don Siegelman, the commentator understated in erroneous fashion the gross injustice of the prosecution, according to Siegelman’s co-defendant Richard Scrushy.
The former HealthSouth CEO commented that Toobin is among the many journalists who have accepted a false prosecution narrative that Scrushy donated $500,000 in 1999 to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation in order to obtain appointment to a governor-appointed regulatory board.
Scrushy, shown a photo with one of his nine children during his five years in prison, said the sum was $250,000 and it came from HealthSouth at the request of a fellow businessman, not Siegelman — and Scrushy did not want to serve on the board.
The developments were among several last week in the federal-state prosecution that has become a human rights disgrace for the American judicial system.
Additionally, Siegelman’s friends reported that the defendant has spent a month in remarkably uncomfortable transit and in solitary confinement surrounding his so-far unsuccessful federal hearings Dec. 15 and Jan. 13. Siegelman sought release on bond Dec. 15 before U.S. District Judge Clay Land in Montgomery, and then argued his appeal last week before a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
Earlier this month, legal blogger Roger Shuler argued Siegelman lawyers claim that U.S. Magistrate Charles Coody lied about reviewing Leura Canary documents. Coody failed to respond to our request for comment last week.
In 2004, the Bush Justice Department failed to win convictions in separate trials of Siegelman and Scrushy but succeeded in a second joint trial in 2006 with a new judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Alabama’s middle district based in Montgomery.
Siegelman was Alabama’s most prominent Democrat when he was governor from 1999 to 2003, but has been continually investigated, prosecuted, or imprisoned since his first months in office in 1999, beginning by then-Alabama Attorney Gen. William Pryor, who now sits on the federal appeals court.
Toobin, a graduate of both Harvard College and the university’s law school, has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1993. In the late 1980s, he was a federal prosecutor working on the Iran-Contra case. Adding to his influence, he is the author of multiple books on legal affairs and has been the senior legal analyst for CNN since 2002.