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Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor of Alabama, who was railroaded into prison by a conspiracy of corrupt Republicans, has a lot to say in our first post-prison conversation.We open on a deeply ironic note: Siegelman was released from prison on February 9, 2017, the same day that Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general. Siegelman explains their history of politically "clashing swords" that led Sessions, Karl Rove and other Republicans to bring phony cases--not just once, but twice--against Siegelman. His 2002 re-election was stolen, the prosecutor was the wife of Rove's business partner, and much more.
We talk about some of the corruption in Alabama exposed while Siegelman was in prison: House speaker impeached, Gov. Bentley resigned after a scandal, but not before state attorney general Luther Strange prevented Bentley's prosecution in exchange for appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Sessions, and the domestic violence charges that led trial judge Mark Fuller to resign from the bench.
We mention a new documentary about the Siegelman saga, Atticus vs. The Architect, which provides a highly accurate depiction of the events. You can see the trailer for the film here.
And we single out the only hero in this tawdry story, former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, who went to prison for 5 years rather than giving false testimony against Siegelman.
We also discuss the refusal of the Obama administration to provide any relief to Siegelman, as it appears the Attorney General Eric Holder fought the appeals as hard as his predecessors, and Obama refused to give a pardon or commutation. Siegelman reveals that his bid for a pardon was supported by Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and others.
He talks about his prison experience, how it affected his family, and his sorrow for the children of Alabama, who lost out in this political war. And he has deep respect for the work journalist Roger Shuler has done to expose Alabama's corruption, and the steep price he and his wife have paid. You can see Shuler's latest reports, and make a contribution, here.