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The Anniston Star, one of Alabama’s largest newspapers has called for President Obama to free former Gov. Don Siegelman from federal prison.
Siegelman is currently serving a 78 month prison sentence for bribery, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice charges stemming from a controversial arrangement made during his term as governor in the early part of the century.
His case is a complicated one to be sure.
But for the sake of a summation, AL.com does a pretty good job:
Siegelman was convicted by a federal court in 2006, “after being accused of appointing former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a health planning board in return for a $500,000 donation to the governor’s campaign for a statewide lottery.”
Was it corruption or just politics?
Depending on which side of the political aisle you sat at the time would determine how you felt.
But with the Supreme Court overturning the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in a somewhat similar case as Siegelman, some believe that Obama should take action for the sake of justice.
The Anniston Star is leading the charge.
In an editorial, the paper cited the oft whispered idea that Siegelman’s conviction was a politically driven witch hunt.
“There’s no undoing the years of legal harassment waged against Don Siegelman,” The Anniston Star wrote in their editorial last week. “This court ruling and its narrowed definition of public corruption are an opportunity for President Barack Obama to use his presidential powers to make the former Alabama governor a free man.”
A few years back, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Siegelman’s son Joe.
At the time, Joe Siegelman was a student at the University of Alabama School of Law and was all a father could ask for in a son.
He was steadfast in his father’s defense, taking little time to sip his Starbucks coffee as that would have taken away from his time to convince me.
Indeed, many in his family were willing to try to convince anyone, anywhere of their father’s innocence.
Imagine what that must be like.
Your family used to be on top of the state with nothing but promise ahead.
Then a combination of bad decisions, confusion and a broken justice system breaks your family apart, soiling your name.
We’ll probably never know if Don Siegelman is totally innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of.
But a few things are certain.
One is that the US Supreme Court doesn’t feel like those crimes are that important anymore. Just politics as usual they say.
And two, is that Don Siegelman has certainly lost enough of his life already.
He is currently in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison with another two and a half years to serve on his sentence.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Mike D/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)