I’m honored to welcome Don Siegelman to FDL today to talk about his on-going appeal, Karl Rove’s defiance of the House Judiciary Committee’s congressional subpoena, and the several references to both in yesterday’s HJC hearing with Michael Mukasey. As always with live chats, please take off-topic conversations to an earlier thread and be polite.

I’ll start with a couple of questions for Governor Siegelman–ask yours in the thread!

1) In an apparent attempt to create an excuse for Rove’s refusal to show up and answer questions under oath, Lamar Smith gave Rove questions to answer about his role in your prosecution. While Rove denied he had spoken to "Justice Department or Alabama officials" about your prosecution, he did not answer Smith’s question about whether he had spoken with "any other individual" about your prosecution. Who are some of the people–outside of DOJ and Alabama state government–that you think Rove might have spoken with about your prosecution?

First, let me say that Rove is showing contempt for Congress by not obeying their subpoena.

Second, even his written non-answers were not under oath and clearly evasive. As you noted, Rove refused to deny that he had plotted with my prosecutor’s husband — Bill Canary (Google this Republican political operative!) — to get his wife, Laura Canary, the U.S. Attorney, to begin a federal investigation and join with the state investigation which was started by Rove’s client, Alabama’s attorney general, Bill Pryor. Others who have been named in testimony before the House Judiciary committee include the Republican governor’s son, Rob Riley.

According to sworn testimony before the Judiciary Committee, both Bill Canary and Rob Riley were on the call in which Canary said that Karl had it worked out with Justice to destroy me. A business associate of Rob Riley’s in Florida told Time Magazine that Rob Riley always bragged about his relationship with Rove.

In addition, Karl Rove’s client’s campaign manager’s wife who pushed the federal investigation after career employees said it should be stopped should also be called before the committee to testify.

Karl Rove built his career in Alabama working with Bill Canary. Bill Canary and Bill Pryor started investigating me in 1999. Laura Canary accelerated the case federally in 2001, she indicted me during the 2006 campaign, and she brought me to trial less than four weeks before the Democratic primary. There is sworn testimony that Bill Canary said that he had it worked out with Karl to destroy me, and that two Alabama US Attorneys would do the job. Both those US Attorneys did in fact indict me. And now, Rove refuses to deny that he talked to Bill Canary about prosecuting me.

Does anyone believe all this is circumstantial? How much more proof do you need? They sent me to prison on less evidence than this.

2) While Lamar Smith made it look like he was asking Rove thorough questions about his involvement in your prosecution, Smith fell far short of doing so. What are some of the other questions that Smith ought to have asked if he really wanted to learn the truth about Rove’s involvement in your prosecution?

  • "Did you ever have a conversation with your client — the state attorney general — or with Bill Canary about the political damage that a criminal investigation would have on Governor Siegelman?"
  • "Did you ever discuss with the President how the U.S. Department of Justice was being used as a political tool to go after your political opponents? If not, how can you now claim executive privilege?"
  • "Did you use any intermediaries to communicate about Siegelman’s case? " (According to sworn testimony by Scrushy attorney Art Leach, Andrew Lourie, Head of Public Integrity at DOJ, told him that the indictment decision was being made above the level of Dep. AG Alice Fisher.)
  • "Did you discuss the Siegelman matter with anyone prior to their appointment at DOJ?"
  • "Did you play any role in the vetting process of Federal Judge Mark Fuller, US Attorney Alice Martin, and/or US Attorney Laura Canary?"
  • "Did you ever discuss Don Siegelman with Jack Abramoff or Michael Scanlon?"

3) Artur Davis revealed that District Judge Fuller, who tried your case, was carrying on secret communications with the US Marshalls about some key emails involving jurors. Can you explain what those emails were and the significance of this revelation to your claim that you did not receive a fair trial?

The emails were mailed anonymously to defense lawyers and members of the media. They were allegedly between two jurors — including the jury foreman. The conversations in the emails were dated during the TRIAL and not deliberation. They discussed how to get others to go for conviction. One in particular said "Gov is up shit creek." Another said "all politicians r scum." Another said "37 coming along. Keep working on 20." – referring to juror numbers. This is just a sampling.

We filed a motion and asked that the emails be investigated. The prosecution objected and the judge overruled us. We filed an additional motion asking that the servers be preserved in case the appellate court wanted to go back later and investigate. The prosecution objected to that also and the Judge overruled us again.

Now we know that after their protestations about how any investigation would destroy the sanctity of the jury process, the prosecution undertook a secret "investigation." The Judge was informed of the "results." Yet the defense was never notified. The prosecution then told Judge Fuller that the emails were fabricated while the judge was considering our motion for a new trial based on those same emails.

Judge Fuller then sat in judgment with prejudicial information in his mind that was never disclosed to the defense. The defense had no opportunity to be involved in the investigation, question anyone, or ask questions. A per se Due Process violation.

It was an outrageous breach of ethics. The government should never have conducted a secret investigation, the judge should never have been told, and above all, both the judge and the prosecutors should have immediately told us — yet we were never told until this last week, about one year and three months after the fact.

4) You have started a web petition to get people to call on Congress to hold Rove in contempt. What’s the URL for that website and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

I am asking everyone who believes that Karl Rove is not above the law, that he should obey the House subpoena or be jailed, to visit www.ContemptForRove.com and write their Members of Congress! From www.ContemptForRove.com, you can forward an email directly to your Representative and urge them to support a contempt resolution against Rove.

Karl Rove has spit in the face of Congress — he is showing contempt for Congress and the American people. The American people deserve to know the truth about how the DOJ was used as a political tool to win elections. Only Congress has the power to find the truth.

It starts with having Karl Rove under oath before the Judiciary Committee. We the People must insist that Congress do its job and hold Rove in contempt for failing to obey the subpoena. The house of cards will start to fall soon thereafter.

That’s why it’s important to go to www.ContemptForRove.com and let Congress hear from you now!



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.