Free Siegelman


Via Mark Kleiman, The New York Times editorializes on Don Siegelman:

It is extremely disturbing that Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, was hauled off to jail this week. There is reason to believe his prosecution may have been a political hit, intended to take out the state’s most prominent Democrat, a serious charge that has not been adequately investigated. The appeals court that hears his case should demand answers, as should Congress. [...]

The most arresting evidence that Mr. Siegelman may have been railroaded is a sworn statement by a Republican lawyer, Dana Jill Simpson. Ms. Simpson said she was on a conference call in which Bill Canary, the husband of the United States attorney whose office handled the case, insisted that “his girls” would “take care of” Mr. Siegelman. According to Ms. Simpson, he identified his “girls” as his wife, Leura Canary, and another top Alabama prosecutor. Mr. Canary, who has longstanding ties to Karl Rove, also said, according to Ms. Simpson, that he had worked it out with “Karl.”

As the NYT notes, normally one wouldn't necessarily give a ton of credence to these complaints, but we're not talking about a normal justice department. We know for a fact that the Bush DOJ engages in selective prosecutions in order to advance partisan ends, and we know for a fact that the Bush DOJ is willing to operate with a reckless disregard for the law. Under the circumstances, where there's smoke there's a decent chance of fire.