March 29, 2008

Update: Karl Rove's Political Prisoner Freed, For Now

Late last month I wrote about former Alabama governor Don Siegelman in a post entitled Karl Rove's Political Prisoner, which detailed the shaky case against Mr. Siegelman, as well as what strongly appears to be his prosecution for political reasons and the alleged involvement of former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove. On Friday, the governor got some good news from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: his motion for release pending appeal was granted, and he was on his way home after enduring nine months in federal prison. The judges found that:
The district court found - and the government does not contest - that Siegelman has presented sufficient evidence to establish "that be is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the safety of others" and that the appeal is not for purpose of delay... After thorough review of this complex and protracted record, we conclude that Siegelman has satisfied the criteria set out in the statute, and has specifically met his burden of showing that his appeal raises substantial questions of law or fact, as required... We therefore grant the renewed motion to release Siegelman on bond pending disposition of his appeal. Siegelman shall be released on the same terms and conditions as those governing his release pending sentencing.
Governor Siegelman, in his first interview since being freed, made no bones about whom he thinks is behind his imprisonment:
Speaking by telephone in his first post-prison interview, shortly after he had left the federal penitentiary at Oakdale, LA, Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case. He was sentenced to serve seven years last June after a guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges a year earlier.

In measured tones after spending nine months at the prison, the former governor, a Democrat, said he would press to have Mr. Rove answer questions to Congress about his possible involvement in the case.

“When Attorney General Gonzales and Karl Rove left office in a blur, they left the truth buried in their documents,” Mr. Siegelman said, referring to Alberto R. Gonzales. “It’s going to be my quest to encourage Congress to ensure that Karl Rove either testifies, or takes the Fifth.”
Congress is likely to oblige the governor with testimony on Capitol Hill, in conjunction with investigations into the U.S. Attorneys scandal and politicization of the Justice Department. Karl Rove's lawyer stated that there is "no truth to any of the allegations," but of course, Mr. Rove also gave assurances that he had nothing to do with outing former C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame in a political vendetta against her husband, and we all know how that turned out.

Dan Abrams of MSNBC's The Verdict has been following this case, and has more in the clip below.

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