From Friends of Don Siegelman:
Dad has served over 400 days in prison.
He is strong; he is charismatic; he is positive, but he is extremely disappointed. It is not the separation, which hurts him, for he is closer to his family than ever. It is not the lack of freedom, which causes him grief, for he cherishes the time he has to work on his book, coach the young men around him, read, and grow spiritually. He is not crippled by the fact that he has spent more than a year in prison, he is burdened by the greater injustice that surrounds him – the use of the justice system as a political weapon, concealed, quiet, and effective. He wants change.
Justice should be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.
Let’s greet this inauguration by making the court system a priority for the President. Can you take a few minutes to share Dad’s petition for freedom and write the President an email? You may use the talking points below or here.
Also, Congressman Alan Grayson from Florida came out in support of clemency for Dad on the radio this week. Listen here!
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Why the court system needs a thorough review
§ 1. The initial prosecutor and U.S. Attorney, whose office prosecuted Siegelman, was married to the campaign manager of Siegelman’s opponent.
§ 2. Siegelman was indicted only after he announced that he would seek reelection, and one month before his reelection campaign
§ 3. Siegelman was convicted of bribery for re-appointing a contributor to a non-paying state board, on which the contributor had served for 12 years under 3 other governors. The contribution went not to Siegelman’s campaign but to a lottery-referendum campaign which, if established, would have sent Alabama children to college tuition-free.
§ 4. Despite the common practice in the United States of appointing supporters to a wide variety of governmental positions, the courts concluded that this particular appointment was an implied “explicit” quid pro quo. This is despite the fact that there was neither self-enrichment nor evidence of an asserted agreement. The government never alleged that Siegelman put a single penny in his pocket.
§ 5. Siegelman’s judge, Mark Fuller, owned a military business which received $200 million in Defense contracts from the Bush Administration just weeks after convicting Siegelman in 2007.
§ 6. Judge Fuller was on the G.O.P. Executive Committee in Alabama for years and had run campaigns against Siegelman.
§ 7. Siegelman, when Governor, prompted an investigation against Fuller for his unethical financial practices as a District Attorney. Fuller claimed the allegations were politically motivated even though audits confirmed the misconduct.
§ 8. Judge Fuller instructed the jury on a novel legal standard, allowing the jury to infer that a bribe occurred. Despite the expansive instruction, the jury deadlocked twice, deliberating for 10 days. After the jury returned deadlocked for the second time, Fuller instructed the jury of the potential for “a lifetime job for you as a juror” explaining that he had “a lifetime appointment” and was “a very patient person.” The jury convicted the next day.
§ 9. The government’s witness, a convicted felon facing 10 years in prison, entered a plea deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence. After Siegelman was convicted, prosecutors recommended no jail time for the witness. 60 Minutes reported that prosecutors made the witness “write his proposed testimony over and over” so that he could “get his story straight.” 60 Minutes also exposed that the witness’ testimony was materially incorrect.
§ 10. Though the 11th Circuit initially found “substantial questions of fact or law likely to result in a reversal,” Siegelman’s panel of judges was changed to one consisting entirely of Republicans who disregarded the circuit’s initial opinion and affirmed the conviction. In addition, the person who began the investigation of Siegelman is now an 11th Circuit judge.
§ 11. Despite unprecedented encouragement from 113 former state Attorneys General, both Republican and Democrat, top Constitutional Law Scholars, and even Pulitzer Prize winning conservative George Will, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
*Judge Fuller ordered Siegelman report to prison on September 11th 2012, a day when media attention would be focused elsewhere.
via Friends of Don Siegelman | 1827 1st Ave North, Birmingham, AL 35203
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