Here is this week’s ruling (in a .pdf file) from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Scrushy and Siegelman for those who want the details. Yesterday’s AP story is here.
Short version: two bribery convictions against Siegelman and Scrushy are thrown out. Five convictions against Siegelman and four against Scrushy stand. Re-sentencing to follow.
As you are aware by now, Don Siegleman’s appeal to the US Supreme Court has been sent back to the Court of Appeals with its judgment vacated for reconsideration (AKA “remanded”) in view of their decison of what constitutes honest services.
While some hope this whole matter will dropped, who knows, Judges and cats work in ways beyond our ken at times.
Another noteworthy factoid, is that Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, signed off on the Brief in Opposition in her role as Solicitor General.
From the SCOTUSblog, in deciding (pdf) the appeal in Skilling v. United States (08-1394), the Court found that “… “honest services” statue covers only bribery and kickback schemes…”.
Robert Plotkin, head of McGuireWood’s SEC Enforcement group, discusses what this means for corporate defense work and in passing mentions it might affect the appeal of Don Siegelman to the WSJ’s Legal blog.
As expected, Mr. Siegelman’s attorney tells Mary Ordnorff of the Birmingham News, this will affect his case.
It is good to see some clarity on what “honest services” are (not taking bribes), even it means a popular target might walk. The statute (like most public corruption laws) is vague and violates the quaint notion, a law should clearly state what is permitted or not permitted. Whether this applies to the Siegelman matter, I’ll leave to those who enjoy such matters as well as pondering its effect on the slowly simmering Grand Jury investigation in Montgomery.
Let’s clear out the notebook…
- Hey, I fixed the phone! I junked the old service that caused me to miss voice mail from a reader. (I have never been able to retrieve that voice mail, I am sorry to say. I hope the reader will call back.) I now have set up a service with Google Voice that is functionally the same. Give us a call.
- If there is anything to the claims in this lawsuit that Milton McGregor arranged for Larry Langford to win $1.5 million in jackpots (and some of the info comes from subpoenaed tax returns of Langford’s), how concerned should McGregor be about a deal the feds might offer Langford to testify about it?
- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is keynote speaker tonight when the state GOP hosts its “Red, White & Blue Dinner” tonight at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery.
- Republican gubernatorial candidates Kay Ivey and Roy Moore presumably are not attending the state GOP dinner tonight. They are attending the national Tea Party convention in Nashville. Moore will be a speaker at the event. The event has been marked by some controversy among Tea Party participants over concerns of the cost of the event ($549 per ticket plus hotel and transportation) and how accessible it was for grassroots Tea Partiers. The American Liberty Alliance withdrew its sponsorship of the event. The National Precinct Alliance also withdrew, saying that it was concerned about “profiteering and exploitation of the grassroots movement.”
- Attorney Taze Shepard, grandson of former U.S. Senator John Sparkman is considering running for the AL-05 Congressional seat held by Democrat-turned-Republican Parker Griffith. No Democrat has officially announced for the seat yet.
- Speaking of Democrats in AL-05, that makes me think of Steve Raby who hasn’t shown strong signs that he is running for AL-05, but it makes me think of the earlier post here about the Democrats’ Radney Rule that I have now updated after receiving some clarification from readers.
- The Press-Register this week wrote up a piece here on their former reporter Eddie Curran and the book he has recently published on Don Siegelman, The Governor of Goat Hill.
- Did you see that Kyle Whitmire has left Birmingham Weekly? He’ll be missed.
- Dan of the late DailyDixie.com (still missed) tells me the Free the Hops group, fresh off the success of their Gourmet Beer Bill last year, has a new cause in the proposed Brewery Modernization Act, with a cool website to boot.
- The Luther Strange for Attorney General campaign is airing a commercial during the Super Bowl “on CBS stations serving portions of central and south Alabama.” (Sorry, Huntsville.) What kind of boost might that give his campaign?
- Coming up: The Montgomery-based outfit Public Strategy Associates is releasing results Tuesday from what it is calling the first independently-commissioned poll on the Republican primary races for Governor and Attorney General. The poll was conducted by Baselice and Associates out of Texas.
Who do you like in the Super Bowl? Or is it all about the ads?
I get really interesting email. This one is about Eddie Curran and his new book The Governor of Goat Hill about former governor Don Siegelman.
Eddie set up a table on the main floor of the Alabama State House today [Wednesday] to sell and autograph his book. Many of the big players in the State House were seen buying the book. Others were checking the index to see how many times their name was mentioned. Still others were visibly agitated reading passages about themselves.
Eddie Curran, who covered the Siegelman Administration for the Press-Register, and criminal trials now has a web site, the Governor of Goat Hill. He is promoting his book of the same name and provides excerpts. He also presents information and opinion some will find interesting, some infuriating, and some ho-hum.
Site still has some finish and touch up work left to do but is readable and provides a counter weight (there are always multiple sides to any issue) to Siegelman’s Free Don Siegelman web site. Might be interesting on a wet, rainy afternoon to read both sites in parallel.
At first I wondered why Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford would want his trial moved to Tuscaloosa since he won a landslide victory in Birmingham just two years ago, winning in a 10 person field without a runoff. But since everyone I meet from Birmingham assumes Langford is going to jail, I’ll concede a change of venue may be best for him.
A Birmingham lawyer muses to the Parlor about Langford, Bill Blount, Al LaPierre, and the trial that starts this week…
…we all know the govt. hasn’t needed any help really from any of the defendants since the paper trail was so extensive. Al got a bit of a benefit it looks like for confirming the fabrication of the loan documents, but that was probably something that the document itself would have given away–or the computer on which it was done, since that would fix a time and date of origination. He must not have given them all they thought he could, since 4 yrs is not a light sentence for a guy with no criminal history who pleads and assists the government. Given Al’s long relationship with Milton, acting as his ambassador to various Montgomery players of the Democrat persausion, you know he was asked the nature of his duties and his answers may have been truthful, but it seems they maybe didn’t meet govt. expectations–or wishes
Anyway, whatever info Blount has on Langford with respect to the bond deals is of little value, since they have all they need–but that email Blount sent to the loan officer at Colonial mentioning “Milton” calling “Bobby” has got to have the govt. salivating. Blount would know where lots of bones are buried with respect to other bond deals,including local government actors as well as other bankers and to campaign financing as well and I don’t think he will hesitate to give up anyone he can in order to lessen his own sentence. It may be that much of what he knows is beyond the statute of limitations, since he would not have had much to do with state finances these last eight years, but surely his “deal” will require him to cooperate in a review by the govt of all public financing he’s been involved with, and who knows what all he can give info on that he learned just thru the grape vine. There are always lots of deals out there that don’t draw attention, but when they do, can never withstand scrutiny–and he’d be able to point to the threads that will rip the seams—if there are any seams to be ripped.
Blount has a history of just avoiding indictment or serious SEC sanctions, going back at least 20 yrs if not longer–the White Hall Industiral Development bonds, the financing of the “Goat HIll” project–which didn’t “go south” til Blount got in there with some Montgomery municipal bonds–forget just what they were called–and then we have these Jefferson county bonds…basically a continuous trail of profitting from deals that never passed the smell test. Back during the 1st round of investigations into Siegelman many thought Blount must have cooperated with the govt. to avoid indictment over Goat Hill–that was definitely David Johnson’s feeling–but in fairness to Blount, David could get a bit paranoid sometimes–but then in fairness to David many other insiders had the same thought, since Blout being left out of any mention by the govt in its innumerable leaks raised a lot of questions by those who knew–or thought they knew–what had happened. Some things may never be looked into since they are just too sensitive–like financing for the Honda plant site work or the Mercedes expansion and if those were brought up, then someone would surely ask questions about who got the gravy from the Thyseen bonds–sort of a MAD-type stand-off I’d guess. Maybe some of your other acquaintances will have better info–certainly lots of questions, tho.
The full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to review the convictions of former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
Siegelman attorney Vince Kilborn says they will carry the appeal to the Supreme Court:
Kilborn said he believes the high court would be particularly interested in reviewing key questions: whether prosecutors proved at trial that there was a “quid pro quo” agreement between Siegelman and Scrushy and if U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller erred by not telling jurors such an agreement is required in federal bribery cases.
Here in a .pdf file is the ruling from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Don Siegelman’s appeal.
The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld 5 of the 7 counts on which former Gov. Don Siegelman was originally convicted. AL.com has it.
I sat down with U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D – Birmingham) after his announcement Friday in Birmingham to talk about his candidacy in the 2010 Governor’s race. You can find Part One here.
Diving right in…
Comment a little if you would about the exit poll that indicates that only 10% of white Alabamians voted for Obama.
A number of people have talked about it, and I have seen some people bat it down. First, this conversation gets less important the more we move away from the election. If I had been running on the same day as Barack Obama this would be a very meaningful conversation. Since he will not be running on the ballot in 2010, it doesn’t matter as much as it did on Nov. 5.
As a practical matter, you can’t get to 39% [that Obama got statewide] on the turnout model we had in Alabama with 10% of the white vote. You just couldn’t get there. Wayne Sowell got about 10% of the white vote against Richard Shelby [in 1998] and that was 32% statewide. There is some difference of opinion on what the black turnout was but it certainly was not so much exponentially higher than it was in 1998 that 10% for Wayne Sowell translated into 32% [overall] and 10% for Obama translated into 39%. In fact, [Secretary of State] Beth Chapman says that white turnout went up more than black turnout in Alabama, which means that probably it was about 75-25. But that’s just what Beth Chapman says.
There was no Obama campaign here. The point is that this is a state that leans Republican at the national level and to overcome that you have to mount a significant campaign. Now as Daryl [Davis staffer Daryl Perkins] likes to say, you show me a campaign where no money was spent on the ground, where no ads were run, where you had one paid staffer in 67 counties, and you never came down here and never addressed the issues, you show me where you won a campaign like that, where you’re even competitive in a campaign like that. As a practical matter, the Obama campaign does not tell me a whole lot.
Continue reading “Artur Davis in the Parlor, Part Two”
I have my own jury duty this week. Yee-ha. And lots to catch up on here from the weekend/end-of-the-week.
The story of the conviction of former Governor Don Siegelman gets more interesting with the report Friday that a whistle-blower has provided internal prosecution emails to the Department of Congress and to Congress. Time Magazine reports, “Now new documents highlight alleged misconduct by the Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney and other prosecutors in the case, including what appears to be extensive and unusual contact between the prosecution and the jury.”
From the article:
[House Judiciary Committee Chair John] Conyers says the evidence raises “serious questions” about the U.S. Attorney [Leura Canary] in the Siegelman case, who, documents show, continued to involve herself in the politically charged prosecution long after she had publicly withdrawn to avoid an alleged conflict of interest relating to her husband, a top GOP operative and close associate of Bush adviser Karl Rove. Conyers’ letter [to Attorney General Mukasey] also cites evidence of numerous contacts between jurors and members of the Siegelman prosecution team that were never disclosed to the trial judge or defense counsel.
Former Governor Don Siegelman has recorded robocalls that are going out in the AL-03 district where Democrat Josh Segall is challenging GOP incumbent Mike Rogers. You can hear a very poor recording of one here. After about 10 seconds, you can probably make out the rest of it. In it, he asks residents to “elect Barack Obama as President and Josh Segall to Congress.”
Siegelman calls would be less helpful in some parts of the state than others. I suppose that in the way that support from Cheney or Bush is more helpful for an Alabama race than it would be in some other parts of the country, support from Siegelman is presumably more helpful in AL-03 than it would be in some other parts of the state.
If you can get us a better quality recording of the call, I’d be glad to hear from you!
A reader sent in a picture taken with a camera phone of a bag sign for Josh Segall placed over a sign for opponent Mike Rogers. You can see the bottom of the Mike Rogers sign peeking out below. I was told the photographer counted 24 Rogers signs covered like this in Clay County.
Tacky and depressing for those who wish for more high-minded and civil campaigns, though I would think it’s unlikely to be very effective as a campaign tactic. From what I can tell, virtually all candidates commonly have yard signs stolen which I find even more offensive. I suppose these ardent supporters do not consider how poorly their actions reflect on their candidates of choice.
Political passions run high. One more day.
GQ Blog posts today an interview with former Governor Don Siegelman. Readers who have followed the story closely will not see a whole lot new but it is a quick summary of the points he has been making since his release along with some details of his incarceration.
First [Karl Rove] said he would testify. Then he said he would only come if he received the questions in advance and nobody was there to take down what he said. So the committee recommended to the full House that he be held in contempt of Congress. If he’s not held in contempt, it will send a clear signal that there are two systems of justice in this country: one for the rich and powerful, those connected to the White House, and one for the rest of us. When we get subpoenaed, we have to show up.
Whether Karl Rove is as innocent as a newborn babe or crooked as a dog’s hind leg, I do wonder how and why he ignores a Congressional subpoena with no consequence.
From the papers, Nora Dannehy was been appointed special prosecutor by US Attorney General Mukasey to investigate:
“Serious allegations involving potential criminal conduct have not been fully investigated or resolved,” the report said, listing lying to investigators, obstruction of justice and wire fraud among the potential felony crimes”
in the US attorney firings.In related news, Richard Scrushy and Don Siegelman have filed new briefs with the Court of Appeals, according to news accounts, that argue, there was no “this for that” so no bribery, the judge should have recused himself, expiry of the statue of limitations and juror misconduct. The big news is that case is set for oral arguments the week of December 8,with a ruling anticipated next year.
Altogether, this will make for a busy winter. Maybe ensuing discussions will keep us warm.