Posted by Damozel | Siegelman has been released from prison pending his appeal.
Thursday’s ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta said Mr. Siegelman’s larger appeal had raised “substantial questions,” and so the former governor should be released from the federal prison where he has already served nine months of a seven-year sentence. (NYT)
The Raw Story has a useful timeline of his prosecution. Meanwhile, John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee are keen to hear from Siegelman's story from his own lips, especially given that it's so difficult to get anything out of the DoJ. I'm keen to hear it too.
"Earlier in the day...Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in Washington asked the Justice Department to allow Mr. Siegelman to travel to Washington to testify about his prosecution, which he has long claimed was politically motivated. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said such a temporary release was unlikely, but the appellate court decision increases the possibility that the former governor will be able to testify before the committee." (NYT)
I hope he is able to testify. The proceedings should be fraught with interest.
Democrats last year began reviewing Siegelman's 2006 corruption conviction as part of a broader investigation into allegations of political meddling at the Justice Department by the Bush administration.
Justice and the federal prosecutors who handled the prosecution have denied any political influence, emphasizing that Siegelman was convicted by a jury. But critics, including about 50 former state attorneys general, have called for a review and said the case raises a number of questions.
The effort gained momentum after a Republican lawyer who had volunteered for Siegelman's re-election opponent — current Republican Gov. Bob Riley — said she overheard conversations suggesting that former White House adviser Karl Rove was talking with Justice officials about Siegelman's prosecution.
Last month, CBS's "60 Minutes" reported that a key witness against Siegelman said that prosecutors met with him some 70 times and had him repeatedly write out his testimony because they were frustrated with his recollection of events. (The Raw Story)
The judges who reviewed Siegelman's record wrote that he met both criteria for an appeal bond: (1) he was not a substantial flight risk; (2) "his appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial." His attorney said that this release is " "a big win in a very long war." (The Birmingham News)
The Siegelman case is far from the only one to raise grave questions about the politicization of the Justice Department under the Bush Administration---questions that should have consequences if the suspicions of the Administration's involvement through Karl Rove can ever be established. Raw Story did a series of articles on Siegelman.
The Carpetbagger Report has a great piece on Siegelman's release. It's true: it's great news---not only for Siegelman, but for the rule of law.
D Cupples has written a number of posts about the prosecution of Siegelman. They are listed below.
Memeorandum has general blogger discussion here.