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Explosive OpEd News Interview: Siegelman Whistleblower Slams Case

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:26 AM
Original message
Explosive OpEd News Interview: Siegelman Whistleblower Slams Case

For OpEdNews: Andrew Kreig - Writer


Tamarah, welcome to OpEd News. It's now three years since you served as a paralegal on the U.S. Justice Department team that won the 2006 corruption conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, your state's most important Democrat. OpEd News has closely followed allegations of gross official misconduct about that verdict and similar Karl Rove-inspired political prosecutions nationwide. You courageously raised such questions within the Justice Department, or DoJ as it's called, even when your boss was the wife of Rove's close friend and longtime politically ally. Then Congress drew on your insights to raise major questions about the Siegelman trial last November, and DoJ fired you in June despite supposed federal protections for whistleblowers. On Sept. 9, I published an update hereabout DoJ's effort to imprison Siegelman for 20 more years largely for asking a businessman to donate to an education foundation. Then I published a separate profile of you here in Know, the national magazine for paralegals.

But OpEd News gets your first published Q&A interview about your remarkable experience.

What's all this been like for you?

Thank you for your interest. It's been an enlightening experience. I didn't understand the power of a Presidential appointee like a U.S. attorney and the Department of Justice. I lost my naivet in 2007, when those holding this power attempted to intimidate and silence me. When that failed, they tried to harm me through an unsuccessful selective prosecution. Had I not personally experienced every moment of it, I simply wouldn't have believed it was possible within the United States of America. Certainly, I wouldn't have imagined it within our country's premiere law enforcement agency.

Let's go right to your nine-page letter of June 1 of this year to Attorney General Eric Holder where you summarized your concerns about government misconduct in prosecuting Siegelman. I'm sure you put a lot of thought into the letter, and so please quote from the top.

I wrote him: I remain a dedicated and loyal employee. During the first two years of my employment with the Department, I received numerous performance-based awards and exemplary performance ratings and reviews. All of that would change in April 2005 when I was assigned to work on the prosecution of the former Governor of the State of Alabama, Don Siegelman, a case commonly referred to as "The Big Case" within the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Alabama. Everything I had been taught to regard as absolute in terms of ethical and professional conduct in my previous 20-year career in litigation support would be challenged by the conduct which I observed during that assignment.

Now in the news is that the Justice Department is trying to undermine your revelations by saying you haven't testified about them. What's your response?

From my perspective, this is nothing more than the latest attempt in a series failed attempts by the government to impugn my integrity, beginning with the unsuccessful attempts to prosecute me in March and May 2008. I challenge the government to make those allegations against my integrity under oath and to provide legally admissible evidence to support its allegations. I will do the same. I am certain of what I saw and heard. I will gladly provide testimony under oath to the appropriate oversight authorities.

Co-defendants Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy allege that they were prosecuted for political reasons, with the Republican Scrushy saying he was just a convenient target to rout Siegelman from politics. What's your background leading up to your six years as a DoJ paralegal?

I have always considered myself to be a moderate Republican. I believe in the U.S. Constitution and that every citizen of the United States has absolute civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution without regard to political affiliation. Before my entry into federal service, I had the privilege to acquire 18 years of invaluable experience in litigation support working with diligent, conscientious lawyers in the private sector.

After signing the letter on June 1 you were fired on June 9. That would seem almost incredible except to someone who's lived it, or who's read the documentation illustrating the immense power of a bureaucracy to protect its leaders. The civics-book image of DoJ is of a few politically appointed leaders such as U.S. Attorney Leura Canary working with career employees who are largely immune to pressure and all united with the goal of ascertaining justice -- even if it involves clearing a defendant's name from unjust charges. Your letter to the attorney general has some interesting language about the realities that you saw. Please quote some of it.

The victory-at-all-costs mentality of the prosecution of The Big Case pervaded the office. Every question was answered with, "This is the most important case in the office." Every milestone in The Big Case was rewarded with a personal acknowledgement from U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. When the superseding indictment was unsealed, Mrs. Canary hosted a party at the Marina to celebrate. This pattern of special recognition by Mrs. Canary was repeated throughout the case. Eventually, there was new office furniture, premium office space in the new building, plum appointments and assignments, conferences and seminars, new titles, generous time-off and no supervision, all-related to the work on The Big Case. FBI Agents also received perks and rewards for their work on the case.

Leura Canary, the wife of Karl Rove's ally Bill Canary and a Bush appointee, was theoretically recused from the Siegelman case for conflict of interest, of course. Yet she remains in office as of today nearly nine months after President Obama took office. You spoke also of a downside to her control?

Reprisal is a concept familiar to employees in the Middle District of Alabama. The instrument of choice has often been a selective and/or malicious prosecution of some type utilizing the resources of DoJ.

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d_r Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. So much crookedness.
The whole thing stinks to high heaven.
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katandmoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm sure glad we have a DEMOCRATIC Attorney General now! HE'LL fix this!
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't know WTF is taking so long unless this case involves so many who should be disbarred.
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 12:56 PM by JohnWxy
This was a clear case of the Cheney-Rove administration pursuing political prosecutions. Incredible abuse of power. stuff Nixon could only DREAM of.

As I have said before the "Republicans have a frightening facility for the techniques of totalitarianism."

This is why the Corporate Lobbyist Party is properly identified as fascist. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. Merely a clinical appraisal.


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williesgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R to keep from getting buried!
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road2000 Donating Member (995 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R to anything about this case.
Thanks, OP.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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abq e streeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
7. another K&R--this case MUST be kept in the public eye as much as possible
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