Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman challenged his imprisonment on corruption charges last week on two grounds of legal error by his trial judge.
Siegelman argued that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery erred by failing to allow evidence on whether a biased prosecutor had actually recused as claimed. The rarely photographed Fuller is shown below in a photo by Phil Fleming, whom the judge invited into chambers to provide a portrait minutes after the jury verdict in 2006.
Also, Siegelman’s appeal to the federal appeals court in Atlanta claims that Fuller wrongly increased Siegelman’s prison time by citing allegations that failed to win conviction in the 2006 jury trial. Siegelman is serving a 78-month term in one of the nation’s most controversial federal prosecutions of the decade.
The defendant is shown at right in a 2008 CBS 60 Minutes photo during a segment showing many irregularities in his prosecution. Part of the 2008 broadcast included Alabama attorney Dana Jill Simpson, who said she learned in 2002 that fellow Republicans were planning to work with then-White House adviser Karl Rove to remove Siegelman from politics with a criminal prosecution.
The filing Aug. 26 helps illustrate why the prosecution remains notorious in civil rights circles even though appellate courts have endorsed for the most part the trial judge’s pro-prosecution rulings. The prosecution alleges corrupt dealings by Siegelman in 1999 and 2000 during the first two years of his one term as governor. Rove and other Republicans have denied wrongdoing.
My investigation of the case extends back six years and led to my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters. WWL AM/FM has invited me to discuss the book and its findings Sept. 3 on The Garland Robinette Show in a segment beginning at 11:10 AM Central time.
I shall describe how the failure of the courts, the Justice Department and Congress to address an obvious legal frame-up in the Siegelman case, including by Rove and extended into the Obama administration, led me to look at parallel situations elsewhere around the nation. The irregularities include a massive conflict of interest by the trial judge, who secretly controlled during the trial Doss Aviation, a defense contractor that was receiving $300 million in Bush contracts to train Air Force pilots and refuel Air Force planes. Fuller was the company’s largest stockholder with an interest reaching 43.75 percent at one point, Simpson demonstrated with documents that were unknown to the defendants.
The probe led me to a deeper understanding of how those I describe as puppet masters groom judges, political candidates, prosecutors, and others for high office, and expect favorable action down the line when needed, irrespective of traditional law and other supposed citizen safeguards that most voters are too busy to notice.
The book and my radio interview launching the hardcover edition this week show that the bipartisan disregard for normal legal procedures has led directly to this summer’s domestic surveillance scandal and the president’s plan to bomb Syria after what he hopes will be congressional approval next week. I’ll reveal the hidden secret of the Benghazi attacks that neither party wants to discuss — but is vital to public understanding of issue of congressional authorization for a United States attack on Syria that President Obama seeks.