Saturday, May 3, 2008

Don Siegelman on The Thom Hartmann Show

On Tuesday, April 29, 2008, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman talked by phone with Thom Hartmann. This is a video clip (slightly edited) of that interview.

Following Don Siegelman's appearance, Thom Hartmann outdid himself with his so-called rant on the High Crimes and Misdemeanors of Karl Rove and the Bush administration. You can listen to the whole program here. Don Siegelman is featured in the second hour of the 3 hour radio show.

From Larisa Alexandrovna presents the case in Part I of her article for Raw Story :
For most Americans, the very concept of political prisoners is remote and exotic, a practice that is associated with third-world dictatorships but is foreign to the American tradition. The idea that a prominent politician -- a former state governor -- could be tried on charges that many observers consider to be trumped-up, convicted in a trial that involved numerous questionable procedures, and then hauled off to prison in shackles immediately upon sentencing would be almost unbelievable.

But there is such a politician: Don Siegelman, Democratic governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003. Starting just a few weeks after he took office, Siegelman was targeted by an investigation launched by his political opponents and escalated from the state to the federal level by Bush Administration appointees in 2001.

Siegelman was ultimately charged with 32 counts of bribery and other crimes in 2005, just as he began to attempt a political comeback. He was convicted the following year on seven of those charges. Last summer, Siegelman was sentenced to seven years in prison and immediately whisked off to a series of out-of-state jails, not even being allowed to remain free on bond while his appeal was under way.

Thom Hartmann's interview touches on the 2002 election fraud part of the story that was not covered in the two 60 Minutes segments (linked below) on Siegelman earlier this year (the first of which, you may recall, was blacked out in parts of Alabama).

Original 60 Minutes Segment on Siegelman aired Feb. 24, 2008

60 Minutes Update Aired April 6, 2008

Siegelman shown emptying mop buckets in prison
shortly before his release on bond, pending appeal,
in late March.

As Ernest Partridge summarized for The Gulag Comes to America: The Don Siegelman Case:
In 2002, Siegelman appeared to have won re-election against Republican challenger Bob Riley. But then, in Baldwin county, Republican election supervisors (no Democrats allowed), locked the doors and "discovered" a "computer glitch" that tilted the election to Riley, whereupon the GOP Attorney General, William Pryor, put the kibosh on Siegelman's appeal for a recount by sealing the ballots.
The case is complicated, partly because the attack was so thorough and extensive. Siegelman was the victim of a vicious and despicable campaign evidently orchestrated by Karl Rove and other political operatives which successfully brought Siegelman down. More than anything it is a chilling example of the abuse of power within the Justice Department and the moral turpitude of the Bush Administration.

There's a timeline of events here at Raw Story and you can find out more about Don Siegelman or make a donation for his legal defense fund at his web site.

Also, there is Democracy Now! coverage of the TV blackout in Alabama of the original 60 Minutes piece which prompted an FCC investigation.

What do you think about all this? I'd love to read your comments.