Atticus v. The Architect:
The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman
“Don Siegelman isn’t just fighting for his freedom; he’s fighting for the integrity of our democracy”
– Al Gore, Former Vice President
In 1998, Don Siegelman’s gubernatorial victory made him the first person in Alabama history to have been elected to all four statewide elected offices – a rare accomplishment for a liberal in this blood-red Southern state. In election-after-election, frustrated Republicans simply couldn’t beat him at the polls because he drew supporters from across the political spectrum. With exceptional skill, Siegelman deflected every smear campaign and dirty trick conservative threw at him. As Governor, Siegelman had no idea that a perfect storm of injustice was about to devour his entire life, his family, his career, his finances, and ultimately his freedom after being railroaded to prison for a crime that does not exist. The plan to get Siegelman out of the way was spearheaded by former Bush official Karl Rove, and it involved rigging a federal court with vindictive prosecutors, a tainted jury, and a corrupt hanging judge hell-bent on payback. This travesty of justice has come to be known by many legal experts as one of the most notorious political prosecutions in American history. The story of how Rove and his co-conspirators quietly got away with their evil scheme will make Watergate look like child’s play and leave everyone shocked, bewildered, and MAD AS HELL!
“We war-gamed…an aggressive tactic…to stop Siegelman at a cost to the tribe of approximately $20 million.”
– Jack Abramoff, Disgraced Republican Lobbyist
As Siegelman served as Alabama Governor, Karl Rove used his White House influence to arrange for loyal Republican operatives, and Siegelman adversaries, to be appointed throughout Alabama’s Federal Judiciary specifically to target Democrats, including the former Governor, for political prosecutions. They wasted no time indicting Siegelman with charges so unfounded that the judge threw the case out of court before the lunch break of the first day of the trial. That judge stated that “these were the most baseless charges he had seen in his almost 30 of sitting on the Federal Bench.” It was obviously a smear campaign to handicap Siegelman in the next election, and it was also intended to drain him of his personal financial resources. Not long after that case was thrown out of court, prosecutors indicted Siegelman a second time with charges so outrageous that legal experts say have never been considered crimes in the history of American jurisprudence! He was charged with bribery even though he never personally received anything. In fact, the so-called bribe was a properly recorded donation to a non-profit education fund without any benefit going to the Governor. Even more outrageous, Leura Canary, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney that filed charges against Siegelman, was married to Bill Canary, the campaign manager of Gov. Siegelman’s political opponent.
That meant that the prosecutor’s husband was getting paid to defeat Siegelman in the upcoming election!
“They could not beat him fair and square. This is a Republican state and he was the one Democrat they could never get rid of.
– Grant Woods (R), Arizona Attorney General 1991-99
The only evidence they had against Siegelman was the testimony of one of his former aides, Nick Bailey. However, unbeknownst to everyone at the time, including Siegelman, Bailey was crooked. Investigators found that he took tens of thousands in kickbacks and charged him with bribery. During the investigation, prosecutors under Leura Canary mercilessly coerced Bailey to testify against his former boss, Gov. Siegelman. During the 100+ meetings over the course of a few years, Prosecutors forced Bailey to practice a script they provided him that falsely stated that Siegelman took a bribe. To make sure he complied, prosecutors threatened Bailey with jail time if he didn’t stick to their prescribed narrative.
“America’s Political Prisoner #1.”
– American Trial Lawyers Magazine
To make that false testimony admissible and trumped up charges stick in court, one of Siegelman’s arch political enemies, Judge Mark Fuller, was suspiciously chosen to preside over the trial. Despite numerous ethical violations, and multiple conflicts of interest, Fuller rejected demands for his recusal. Inside this almost farcical kangaroo court, with virtually no objective rule of law, Judge Fuller always ruled in favor of the prosecution. They got away with a staggering array of judicial misconduct, including: lying to the jury, misrepresenting evidence, withholding evidence, multiple improper jury instructions, jury tampering, and allowing admittance of false evidence. Because the only judicial oversight was by fellow Republican officials under Rove’s control, it was completely impossible for Don Siegelman to get anything close to a fair trial.
“The conviction and sentence of Governor Siegelman has been a travesty of justice.”
– Judge U.W. Clemon, Federal Judge (Ret.)
Since his conviction, countless Democrats and Republicans have formally declared their support for Don’s innocence, including members of Congress, judges, prosecutors and legal scholars from many of America’s top-tier law schools. Most notably, 113 former states Attorneys General from both political parties filed a formal complaint protesting the rampant prosecutorial misconduct and judicial abuse in this trial. This is the first time in America’s 239-year history that so many legal experts from both parties have come forward to publicly denounce the deliberate injustice directed at one man.
Despite being one of the most popular and respected figures in Alabama with decades of untarnished public service, Don Siegelman’s life has been devastated. He was locked away from his family for years, completely stripped of his freedom, and lost everything including his personal property, his savings, and a very promising career. Don has endured more hardship than most of us can imagine, even though hundreds of America’s top legal experts say he never committed a crime.
“The conviction of Don Siegelman is a deep stain on our justice system”
– Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General