Siegelman story raises questions
Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
I watched the 60 Minutes piece on the Don Siegelman trial Sunday night. It started with footage of the former governor emptying pails of dirty water at the federal prison where he is incarnated in Louisiana.
Reporter Scott Pelley then revealed the first public allegation from Rainsville lawyer and Republican activist Dana Jill Simpson that she had spoken directly to Karl Rove in 2001 and he had asked her to catch the former governor cheating on his wife with one of his aides.
Simpson said she “spied on Siegelman, but saw nothing.” She also said that she had received other requests from Rove for intelligence and opposition research.
After a federal court in Birmingham had tossed a Medicaid fraud case against Siegelman, Simpson told 60 Minutes that Birmingham attorney Rob Riley, the son of Gov. Bob Riley, told her that Siegelman would have to be re-indicted. She said that happened in four months after the first case was dismissed. Rob Riley told 60 Minutes he never spoke to Simpson about that.
In an e-mail prior to the 60 Minutes report, the State Republican Party issued a statement saying this was the first time Simpson has talked about the spying on Siegelman to discover an illicit relationship. It is true that Simpson did not make that allegation in her sworn testimony before Congress but at least one national reporter has told me that she told it to him, but requested it not be used without her approval.
Even though she wasn’t speaking to 60 Minutes under oath, when Simpson testified before Congress she was questioned by representatives of both political parties, and she was testifying under oath, with perjury as a penalty and her law license at stake if she lied.
For those who dispute her to be credible they must speak under the same conditions. None have.
Perhaps the most persuasive statements on Siegelman’s behalf came from former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, a lifelong Republican. He was one of 52 active or former state attorney generals who petitioned Congress to investigate the Siegelman indictment and trial. “The case should have never gone to trial,” Woods said. “There was no quid pro quo (this for that transaction between Siegelman and Richard Scrushy). The jury was deadlocked twice and the judge ordered them back.”
Woods said that because U. S. District Judge, Mark Fuller “shackled them (Siegelman and Scrushy) in chains…that was personal.” Woods said that doesn’t happen…even to persons convicted of violent crimes. Asked why he, a Republican, was defending Siegelman, a Democrat, his answer was…”We’re Americans first and we have to stand up for that.”
Simpson is akin to a person with a contagious disease. Nobody wants to associate with her and her party is even trying to publicly disown her. Here’s what State GOP Chair Mike Hubbard has to say about Simpson:
I would suggest that Rep. Hubbard check her local county where I believe he will find Ms. Simpson is (or was) listed as GOP Co-chair. I talked at length with Ms. Simpson a few months ago and found her to be very precise and knowledgeable about this situation. Frankly, I would not want to be on her list.
We haven’t had this much attention from the national media since George Wallace was around.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org