Sunday, March 30, 2008

Siegelman Appeal Could Take a Year or More to be Decided

The Birmingham News headlines that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman's appeal will not likely be resolved until next year.

If you recall, Siegelman was convicted of bribery and mail fraud last summer; and before he could sneeze, he was hauled off to federal prison.

Additionally, his appeal was unnecessarily delayed by months when Alabama failed to produce a copy of his trial transcript.

Howling Latina wrote a post back in July, 2007 about the wingnut outrage that landed Siegelman in the pokey. Only two years after he'd lost a very close race by 3,200 votes in a disputed election, Siegelman had an ill-starred turn of fortune.

Prosecutors began to investigate Siegelman as soon as he started winning elections back in 1999; and in 2004, he was indicted, mostly unindicted and ultimately, the judge discharged the few remaining charges with prejudice; they could not be refiled.

A little over a year later, Siegelman was once again indicted; this time with a new set of charges. On June 29, 2006, he was convicted of "soliciting $500,000 on behalf of Alabama's lottery foundation" by a jury (accused of illegally consorting during trial).

Now, the lottery foundation was not some secret double-dealing boondoggle of the Cunningham, Ney, Libby, DeLay, Griles, Frist, Weldon, Abramoff kind; it was simply to benefit Alabama universities.

Since then, Alabama attorney Dana Jill Simpson has signed a sworn affidavit that she'd overheard a conference call where a Republican operative was assuring his pals that in the future, they would not need to worry about Siegelman. Rove and "Canary's girls" would be taking good care of him with a full throttle U.S Department of Justice investigation.

One of Canary's "girls" is the wife of the operative, Leura Canary, United States Attorney in Alabama's Middle District. The other 'girl' is Alice Martin, United States Attorney in the Northern District.

In an op-ed early this month, Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that Leura Canary had "dr[iven] the Siegelman prosecution [and] didn't personally recuse herself until the investigation was well under way."
Her husband, for his part, has run political campaigns for Siegelman's chief rival, current GOP Gov. Bob Riley.
The reason the howler thinks the timing of the whole tawdry Siegelman affairs is oh, just so serendipitously delicious is that Congress will likely want to hear from the former governor many times over, especially close to November's elections.

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