Don Siegelman

Major Alabama Paper Thinks Obama Should Pardon Former Gov. Don Siegelman

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, 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.

Free him.


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Cover Photo Credit: Mike D/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Former Alabama Governor Put Into Solitary Confinement After Calling Radio Show

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has been kept in solitary confinement in a federal prison for the past two months according to his son.

The suspected reason?

Siegelman called a liberal talk radio program in October where he maintained his innocence.

According to the AP, Siegelman’s son- Joe Siegelman claims that his father was sent to a higher security facility where he has been kept in solitary.

“All I know is it’s been eight weeks and he’s still locked in a box,” Joe Siegelman told the AP.

Don Siegelman was convicted in 2006 of seven counts- including bribery, conspiracy, and fraud in a controversial case that many have viewed as being politically motivated.

Siegelman was the last Democrat elected governor in Alabama.

Siegelman was interviewed on the Tom Hartmann in October to promote a film about his case.

During the interview, Siegelman maintained that he was innocent and mentioned the judge who oversaw his case- Mark Fuller.

Fuller has been accused by some that he was influenced by Bush administration officials including former Deputy White House Chief Of Staff Karl Rove.

In an interview I conducted with Fuller as a student reporter in 2012, the judge maintained that he had no connection to the Bush White House during the Siegelman trial.

“No, I was never contacted by anybody,” Fuller said in 2012. “I’ve never met Karl Rove, never spoken to Karl Rove.

“I thought and I believe that I called that case as fairly as I have any other case. I couldn’t live with myself if I thought that I had railroaded somebody, the government or an individual defendant,” Fuller said.

Fuller resigned in 2014 after he was arrested for allegedly beating his wife at an Atlanta hotel.

Siegelman is expected to be released from prison in August of 2017.

LISTEN: Don Siegelman on the Tom Hartmann radio program.


Cover Photo: Mike D/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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