Apr 13, 2009

Stevens and Siegelman cases very similar: all but the end result

If you needed any proof that it is a new day in the country with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, we have the case of former Republican Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, whose corruption conviction was thrown out on a technicality.

Stevens was convicted of seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from a wealthy oil contractor just a week before he lost his bid for re-election. Apparently, the U.S. Justice Department admitted it never turned over notes from an interview with the oil contractor, so new U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the decision to disregard a jury verdict and not seek another trial. Steven’s lawyer’s praised Holder as "a pillar of integrity."

This is the same U.S. Justice Department that was the most politicized justice department in history, and U.S. attorneys were hand-picked for their Republican partisanship. Under Bush, it functioned much like the IRS did under Nixon. In 2006 U.S. Attorneys were fired if they did not go after Democrats and actually investigated real corruption by Republicans.

One of the most glaring examples was the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Many people believe Bush’s brain and henchman Karl Rove was behind this persecution, and that’s one reason Rove is fighting subpoenas.

Don Siegelman was not in prison because he’s a criminal but because he belonged to the wrong political party in Alabama. Siegelman was the most successful Democrat in that Republican state. But while he was governor, the U.S. Justice Department launched multiple investigations that went on year after year until, finally, a jury convicted Siegelman of bribery.

He was sentenced to seven years in a federal prison camp in Louisiana. Stevens didn’t do a second behind bars. In fact, Siegelman was denied 45 days to report to prison to give him time to put his affairs in order, an opportunity which is commonly granted to other offenders. Siegelman was immediately taken to a maximum security prison. While in prison, Siegelman endured solitary confinement.

The main charge against Siegelman was that he took a bribe, giving a position on a state board to businessman Richard Scrushy, who had made a big donation to Siegelman’s lottery campaign that would benefit public schools. The position on the state hospital regulatory board was an unpaid position, and Scrushy had served on the same board over the past three Republican administrations.

The evidence was thin at best, and the star witness against him was subsequently convicted of extortion; upon being given 10 years in prison he cooperated with prosecutors to lighten his own sentence by testifying against Siegelman. Although the witness engaged in over 70 interviews with the prosecution against Siegelman, none of the notes detailing these interviews were shared with the defense.

That was the very reason the Steven’s conviction was overturned. Why not Siegelman? The judge in Steven’s case said the prosecutors in the case should be investigated. The same should be done in Siegelman’s case. In fact, in November 2008 new documents revealed alleged misconduct by the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney and other prosecutors in the case. Extensive and unusual contact between the prosecution and the jury appears to have occurred.

Like Stevens, Siegelman was running for re-election during his trial.


Not Anonymous said...

Once again, your facts are lies and misleading.

Siegelman lost his bid for re-election in 2002. He was running in the Democrat Primary while he was on trial and lost to another Democrat by a margin of 60% to 36%. That was on June 6, 2006. He was found guilty of June 29, 2006 which was after the primary election.

He was denied the 45 days to get his affairs in order before going to prison, so you do have that correct.

You failed to mention that Siegleman was released from prison in March 2008. You also faied to mention that the appeals court upheld his conviction on key bribery, conspiracy and obstruction counts. The appeals court did strike down two counts that was convicted of and ordered a new sentencing hearing. His sentence will probably be reduced due to two of the counts being thrown out.

These cases between Siegleman and Stevens are not similar at all. Stevens was convicted just prior to election day. Siegleman was convicted after his primary election where he lost by a wide margin to another Democrat.

Stevens conviction was overturned because of the prosecutions failure to turn over documents to the defense and FOR OTHER VIOLATIONS. It wasn't just due to the one witness. It was a myriad of errors. The one most in question was the interview of the Prosecutions witness. He had said something different between several interviews and the prosecution went with the one that most fit their case without informing the defense of contradictions made by the witness in previous interviews. But that wasn't the only reason.

I always love it when Socialist Democrats whine about the firing of 8 US Attorney's under President Bush in 2007, his sixth year in office, but they never mention the 93 fired by Clinton at the beginning of his term. The allegation against Bush is that they weren't going after Democrats hard enough. It's speculation. But then, in 93 when Clinton fired 93 attorney's the speculation was that it was because they wanted the attorney off the case that was going after Rostenkowski for the check kiting scheme in the House of which Rostenkowski was later convicted.

Once again, your lies come out clearly and your misinformation is glaring.

Communications guru said...

Wrong again, brett, but that’s what people have come to expect from you.

I did mention Gov. Siegelman was up for reelection during his trial, as was Stevens. Whether it was the primary or the general election does not make a bit of difference.

I thought it was common knowledge that Gov. Siegleman was out of prison, since he has been on the Rachel Maddow show and others. The cases of Stevens and Siegleman are very similar, except the Attorney General under Obama did the right thing and Stevens did not do an hour in jail, and Siegleman did like two years in prison.

Stevens’s conviction was overturned because of the prosecution’s failure to turn over documents to the defense, the notes of one interview. The prosecution in Gov. Siegelman’s case failed to turn over the documents from 70 interviews; not just one.

Once again, brett, there is no such thing as a “socialist Democrat” in this country, and that’s just a fascist Republican talking point. But you know that.

You cannot possibly be denying that Bush politicized the Justice Department like Nixon did with the IRS? Nor can you deny that the Assist AGs were fired because they did not go after Democrats. Even if your figure for President Clinton was true, they were not fired because of their political affiliation.

Once again, you have failed to prove anything, and you do not offer anything to back up your false opinion.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

If I recall correctly, Clinton got rid of the attorneys as part of the usual boring transition between administrations...out with the old guard in with the new, so to speak. Nothing untoward about it, though the 29 percenters do like to wank on and on about it.

Bush, on the other hand, did fire attorneys for political gain, par for the course with his usual douchebaggery.

Nothing to see here, nonnymouse, move along now.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

As I recall, President Daddy Issues got rid of most, if not all, of the attorneys hired under Clinton during his transition.

*gasp* Where are my pearls? Where is the fainting couch? I need to clutch my pearls and faint!!!


One more thing...just because the charges were dismissed, doesn't mean Ted "intertubes" Stevens' wrinkled old ass ain't guilty.

He's just another self-entitled, over-indulged wingnut douchebag.