For Don Siegelman, DOJ’s decision on Ted Stevens just adds insult to injury.
“There seems to be substantial evidence of prosecutorial and other misconduct in my case, that would dwarf the allegations in the Stevens case,” the former Alabama governor told TPMmuckraker in an interview moments ago.
Referring to Attorney General Eric Holder, Siegelman said that while he supports the Stevens decision, “I hope that [Holder] will take a look at some of the other cases that are buried on his desk.”
This morning, the Justice Department announced it was dropping the charges against Stevens, citing prosecutorial misconduct — specifically, the government’s failure to hand over key evidence to the defense. In response, Stevens declared today: “I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed.”
Siegelman has suffered a different fate. He was convicted and jailed in 2006, in connection to his appointment of a campaign contributor to a state board. Though he is now out of jail pending his appeal, the conviction is still standing, despite evidence that the prosecution was politically motivated — a witness has given sworn testimony that Karl Rove was involved — and despite numerous credible allegations of misconduct on the part of prosecutors, jurors, and the judge. Some of the most compelling allegations involve withholding of evidence by prosecutors from the defense.
Siegelman is clearly alive to the parallels between the two cases, along with their starkly different results, at least as of now. “That dichotomy did not escape me,” he told TPMmuckraker.
“There was quite a bit of underlying facts that distinguished the [Stevens] case from mine,” he said, while making clear he respects the former Alaska senator. “I was not charged with a single penny of wrong-doing.”
Siegelman said he hoped that the mass of evidence that his prosecution was tainted would “warrant consideration [by Holder] of doing the same thing in my case as he did in Senator Stevens’.”
And, as he has before, Siegelman framed his case as part of a wider effort to get to truth about politicization of the Justice Department during the Bush years. “Who at the Department of Justice abused their power, and why?” he asked. “Was Karl Rove directing the show?”
We may start to get some answers on that when Rove testifies before a House committee soon. As for Siegelman, he’s waiting on a decision by a full appeals court as to whether to hear his appeal, after an appeal on the narrow issue of juror misconduct was largely rejected by a three-judge panel last month.