Sunday, May 15, 2011

Siegelman doing best to give Rove the last laugh

            "This was a partisan witch-hunt, pure and simple, cooked up by Karl Rove and the Republican Party to try to put me away for good because they disagree with my politics. They couldn't beat me fair and square, so they targeted me with this politically-motivated, unfounded prosecution.
          They abused our system of justice and they abused the public trust. And I'll never stop fighting until the truth wins out. Will you stand with me?
      -- From the latest of Siegelman's countless mass e-mails seeking donations to his legal fund. This one, called, "Now What," was sent out last week, after the 11th Circuit ruling.

            When those convicted of crimes discover their fates at sentencing, among the criteria considered by judges is whether the defendant has shown remorse and accepted responsibility for his acts.
            Tell Steve Nodine about it. Last month, U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade sentenced the former Mobile County Commissioner to 15 months in prison and ordered him straight to jail. Many felt the charges -- violations of a federal law that prohibits unlawful drug users of being in possession of firearms -- would never have been brought had Nodine not been involved, in some shape or form, with the death of his mistress, Angel Downs.
            At sentencing, Granade agreed with federal prosecutors that Nodine had by his words and actions failed to accept responsibility for his crime. That, as much as anything, is why she brought the hammer down on, "The Hammer."
            Compared to Siegelman, Nodine has displayed great contrition. Weepy with regret, he is, compared to Alabama's former governor. Nodine, for example, has never claimed that Alabama's governor, the senior advisor to president of the United States and an army of others preyed on him for purely political reasons.
            Last Wednesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that would seem to guarantee Siegelman's return to prison. (Siegelman still has two appellate avenues, but neither seems likely to provide relief. For more about his legal situation, see the blog entry below.)
            The real question now seems: For how long will Siegelman be sentenced?
            Don Siegelman is not only a lawyer, he is the former top prosecutor, as in attorney general, of the state of Alabama. He also is surrounded by highly qualified attorneys. He knows, they know, about the value of accepting responsibility at sentencing.
            Or so we must assume. You just would not know it by the way Siegelman's been going around these past four years, telling any fool who will listen that Karl Rove did him in.
            How Rove's name even became inserted into this drama is the damndest story in all this mess. I don't know who deserves more scorn -- mythic Republican lawyer Jill Simpson, or the doofuses at the New York Times and Time magazine who first gave her nutty story credence. But credence was indeed bestowed.
            Siegelman has been blasting Rove ever since, in too many radio, television, newspaper and internet media interviews to possibly keep count of.
            When (and if) Siegelman is re-sentenced (he was sentenced before, but that too is another story), it can be assumed that prosecutors will enter court prepared to make a case that  Siegelman hasn't accepted responsibility for his actions.
            But Siegelman has taken "not accepting responsibility" to a new level. He has, after all, been appealing his case. Under those circumstances it's not entirely unreasonable for him to deny having broken the law. Siegelman's problem is that he's done far more than deny the charges and disclaim responsibility for his actions.
            He's been the central player in promoting the tall tale that Karl Rove, Bob Riley and too many others to name conspired to have him prosecuted. The supposed motive -- or in any event, one of them -- is that Riley and his fellow Republicans were quaking at the prospect of facing the scandal-plagued, defeated one-term-governor in the 2006 governor's race.
            Rove, of course, entered the story after Simpson's May 2007 affidavit. I'm not aware of any sane person with even a passing knowledge of the facts who actually believes Simpson's affidavit, or that Rove had anything to do with the Siegelman case.
            Siegelman recognizes that without Rove, there is no national angle, thus no reason for anyone outside of Alabama to have any more than a passing interest in his case. Thus, he pounds ceaselessly on his Rove drum.
            It is worth noting that Siegelman's lawyers have never raised the claims of a Karl Rove-inspired political conspiracy in any of their many voluminous appeals briefs.
            And that brings us to Siegelman's sentencing. One has to believe that prosecutors will enter court that day loaded with examples of Siegelman's Rove-bashing and blaming. The sentencing judge, presumably, Mark Fuller, who presided over the trial, will be asked by prosecutors to consider that evidence.
            What, one wonders, will Siegelman and his lawyers do then?
            Try to make a case that Rove did direct the Justice Department to prosecute Siegelman when their lone evidence of such are the ever-changing stories told by ... Jill Simpson?
            Siegelman's hyperactive blaming of Rove is powerful evidence to support the prosecution's anticipated argument that Siegelman doesn't deserve a break from the court because of his failure to accept responsibility for his crimes.
            In this way, Karl Rove -- assuming he cares less -- may get the last laugh.

            Below is a collection of Siegelman comments, many included in my book, and all previously posted on this blog, that I call, "Rappin' on Rove." First, here's a portion of one of Siegelman's e-mails to supporters, and sent May 3. In it, he raises the specter of ... Murder.

As you know, political prosecution is a clean and sophisticated means of modern day assasination. This form of assasination murders real people, real lives and real careers as effectively as a firing squad. But the most profound victim is democracy; and that means that "we the people" are the victim. Please consider contributing to my Legal Defense Fund! Together we will fight this attack on our American Democracy.

“Karl Rove had his hand on the gun that shot me.”
-- Don Siegelman

    From early 2002 through June 2007, Don Siegelman relentlessly blamed Republican leaders including Alabama Gov. Bob Riley for the criminal investigation into him and his administration. Not once during that period did Siegelman so much as mention the name Karl Rove.
     That changed after Rainsville lawyer Jill Simpson claimed in an affidavit that she participated in a conference call during which it was revealed that Rove in some manner directed the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute Siegelman for political reasons.
      My position, and certainly that of, "The Governor of Goat Hill," is that Simpson's story has no more basis in fact than "Alice's Wonderland," and what's more, that Siegelman knows it.
      However, reality hasn't stopped Siegelman from directing his vitriol and imagination at former President George W. Bush's controversial long-time advisor.
     "Rappin' on Rove" -- also a name of a chapter in the book -- is a sampling of the former Alabama governor's comments to the media about Rove made since Simpson's affidavit. Most are in the book.

     The first group of quotes reflect a tendency towards forensics imagery. One might even call this part of the collection, "CSI Siegelman."
      Here goes:
          “Karl Rove’s fingerprints are all over this case. And you know, if you ask me, do we have the knife with his fingerprints on it? No, but we’ve got the glove and the glove fits.” -- To MSNBC's Dan Abrams, during the segment of his show called, "Bush League Justice."

          “We don’t have the knife with Karl Rove’s fingerprints all over it, but we’ve got the glove, and the glove fits.”--  To the Washington Post.

           “(Rove was) at the scene of the crime, plotting for my political destruction.”-- To the Associated Press.

          “There’s no question that Karl Rove’s fingerprints are all over this case, from the inception.”
--  To the New York Times.

      “His fingerprints are smeared all over the case.” -- Also to the New York Times.

            “All of the roads lead to Rove. All of the dots, and when you connect the dots, they lead to Karl Rove. This case could be the MapQuest that sets Congress on a journey that will take them to Karl Rove if they will start to look at it.”
-- to MSNBC's Abrams.

            "(I) suspected from the circumstantial evidence that Karl Rove was deeply involved in my prosecution. I mean, it was just so obvious that it was easy for me to put two and two together and connect those dots.
-- To “Ring of Fire” radio host Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after Kennedy asked Siegelman why he'd never mentioned Rove's role until after Jill Simpson's affidavit.

         In this second section, Siegelman raps Rove for refusing to testify about his role (or non-role) in the Siegelman prosecution. Rove ultimately did testify, and denied having anything to do with the case. There is some hypocrisy relevance here because Siegelman backed out of a pledge to testify before Congress on the Rove situation and elected not to testify at his criminal trial. He has never testified about the charges against him or about anything else related to his case.

       “What we need is Karl Rove to get himself over to the Judiciary Committee and put his hand on a Bible and take an oath and give testimony. And he can either tell the truth or take the Fifth. Either one will satisfy me.” -- To Scott Pelley, on “60 Minutes.”

          “Karl Rove has learned how to talk to talk. He hasn`t learned how to walk the walk. You know, he talks about testifying. And then, when it comes time to walk the walk, you know, he skates. And I think congress needs to, you know, call him on the carpet, get him before the committee. And again, he can either lie under oath or take the fifth. Either one will be fine. But they have to - I believe and of course I respect the judgment of the committee and John Conyers. But in order to seek the truth, we`ve got to have Karl Rove before that committee.” -- to Abrams.

          "Well, then, let's don't waist waste any time.  I think the House and Senate Judiciary Committee should subpoena Karl Rove and bring him before those committees.  Let him put his hand on the Bible and either tell the truth or lie under oath .... Any of those scenarios will be fine with me." -- To Abrams.

        “Karl Rove and his right-wing political cronies targeted me through a malicious, unfounded, politically motivated prosecution. And now, Karl Rove refuses to testify before Congress about his role in this whole nefarious scheme."-- In one of his many e-mail letters to supporters.

       This section reflects another of Siegelman's themes: That his efforts to get his conviction overturned is but a battle in a larger war to return justice to America, or something like that.

      “Together, we can fight to get the full truth from Karl Rove and restore integrity to our system of justice. America deserves nothing less." -- To MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who replaced Abrams.

           “Karl Rove is like a double-headed rattlesnake. You’re going to have to back him into a corner before you get anything out of him, and, just like an infected wound, the wound that has been created in this country by the subversion of our Constitutional rights, the abuse of power, the use of the Department of Justice as a political weapon, this wound also has to be cleaned before the American people can feel safe about their democracy again.”-- Also to Maddow.

       “The only reason that my case is different, that I’ve gotten any attention, is because of a lifelong Republican named Dana Jill Simpson, who couldn’t sleep at night and came forward to place Rove at the scene of the crime. When I got out of prison, I happened to be at a public meeting that she was also at. I just shook her hand and thanked her. I told her that she was an American hero.”--  To GQ magazine.

       "Our democracy has been threatened and it is now up to us to secure its future. We, the people, must continue to struggle, to fight, to push for the truth in order to restore justice and preserve our democracy. Congress must act. The Judiciary Committees and Oversight Committees must investigate.Please email, write, and call the new Congress asking them to investigate until we know the truth of Karl Rove's involvement in my prosecution and the extent of his role in the firing of US Attorneys because they would not prosecute political cases....I need your help. Our country's. Our country's future depends on it." -- From letter on portion of Siegelman's web-site called "Contempt for Rove."

        "(I) am encouraged by the Congressional inquiry and upcoming investigation which should prove the political involvement and establish this Alabama case as the ‘Watergate of 2008.’” -- In letter to the Associated Press.

           “Saying that Karl Rove is not involved in my prosecution is like saying George Bush is not involved in the war in Iraq.”-- to Abrams.

            "You know, if God had a purpose for me going through this, I think part of it is to try to fix some of those things that are wrong with our system and ensure that these kind of things don't happen to people in the future. And I want to get back to one thing. We have got to seek out the truth. And I want to, again, commend you and Bush League Justice for pushing this issue forward. This case and these circumstances will make Watergate look like child`s play if Congress will dig into these things."-- to Abrams, and another of the many times the former Alabama governor has compared his prosecution to the removal of an American president.

         "I had endorsed Al Gore in 2000 -- the first governor to do so -- and it wasn't long after that that they started the investigation. I had made plans after my 2002 re-election -- which I ultimately lost because of the bad press generated by these investigations -- to hit the primary states. I had been secretary of state for eight years, attorney general for four years, lieutenant governor for four years, and governor for four years -- I had all these friends around the country -- so I thought I could gin up a campaign not for me but against George W. Bush, against his war, against his economic policies, and against his education policies…."-- Giving  new motives for Rove to go after him. Among them: That Rove was afraid the scandal-plagued former Alabama governor would run for president and defeat Bush. Siegelman appears to assume, and to just expect others to do the same, that all he had to do was drop his name in the hat to win the Democratic nomination for president. This quote is from, "Karl Rove Destroyed My Life," a story from Tina Brown's on-line magazine, "The Daily Beast."

            "(I was) the only viable Democrat in the state of Alabama" (and was thinking about) entering national politics in 2003, going into the 2004 elections." -- The same theme, in an interview with CNN's John Sanchez.

          “Since I wrote you last week, we have seen an outpouring of support from our online community in my effort to raise the $30,000 I need to pay legal expenses for my appeal on December 9th. ... But, with less than one week left, I still need your help to reach that goal. Please donate what you can today – so I can have the resources I need to keep fighting back and to hold Karl Rove accountable!” -- One of Siegelman's many e-mail letters to supporters in which he cites his battle against Karl Rove as a reason for them to donate to his legal defense fund.

A Rappin' Update: Last week (Nov. 12, 2010), Siegelman sent supporters an e-mail that began:
Dear Friend,
Karl Rove is a cross between Caligula and a Maniacal Machiavelli. ....

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