MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – Don Siegelman has five and a half years left on his prison sentence according to his daughter Dana. She is on a mission to get her father a lighter sentence and failing that – a pardon.
Don Siegelman’s conviction on bribery, conspiracy, and honest services mail fraud hinged on a 500 thousand dollar contribution to his education lottery campaign that prosecutors say was meant to buy his co-defendant Richard Scrushy control of a seat on the state regulatory board with power over Scrushy’s former company.
Dana Siegelman says her father did personally sign on the debt for that campaign, but wasn’t really worried about being on the hook for the money.
“The people that had co-signed on the, on this loan had more than enough money to fullfill that need. So there was no worry there,” said Dana Siegelman.
“Karl Rove according to 2 whistleblowers was directly related in this case in the sense that he gave the Department of Justice a cover to go after my father and Bill Canary his partner who was running my father’s opponent’s campaign,” said Dana Siegelman.
One of the whistleblowers Dana Siegelman is referring to is Jill Simpson. During a 2008 story that ran on 60 Minutes, Simpson implicates involvement by Karl Rove and Bill Canary in plotting against Don Siegelman.
In that 60 minutes report Jill Simpson is described as a former Republican campaign operative in Alabama. Bill Canary is described as a Republican consultant and a close associate of Rove’s in Alabama.
Bill Canary reportedly denied Simpson’s allegations to 60 Minutes.
Former Chairman of the Alabama GOP, Mike Hubbard also issued a response denying that Simpson ever volunteered or worked on behalf of the Alabama Republican Party.
In a July 2008 letter to a House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove says he never tried to influence the investigation or prosecution of Don Siegelman and never communicated directly or indirectly about it with any Department of Justice or Alabama official.
Louis Franklin, the acting US Attorney on the case issued a statement in 2007 which said Rove played no role whatsoever in the Siegelman investigation or prosecution. Franklin also said the investigation began before Leura Canary became the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, but that she recused herself in response to “unfounded accusations that her husband’s Republican ties created a conflict of interest.”
In the statement Franklin also explains that upon review the Department of Justice found no conflicts of interest.
Dana Siegelman isn’t convinced.
“So the fact that we asked this person to recuse herself and never got proof that she did is a reason for a new trial. So we’re hoping that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with us. If they don’t we’re going to go forward on this clemency application and we feel very strongly that it’s a very powerful application. Some of the greatest leaders in this country have signed on: 113 former attorney generals, both Republican and Democrat, tons of people in the House Judiciary Committee including Congressman Conyers who is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, two whistleblowers, former president, so we’re very hopeful that some, something, some message will get through either to the Department of Justice or to the President that this case was a huge travesty of justice. We don’t want this to happen to anyone else. We want there to be better checks and balances,” said Dana Siegelman.