MSNBC host says Mukasey needs to investigate Rove meddling in Siegelman case
A 60 Minutes investigation into the prosecution of Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has focused new attention on the case. Whistleblowers say the Democratic governor is in jail because of a Republican-led witch-hunt that was at least partially motivated by White House adviser Karl Rove.
Siegelman has called for a Special Prosecutor to investigate, and the Alabama attorney who's alleged Rove's involvement says Congress should investigate. Rove denies reports of his involvement. Speaking to an audience in Los Angeles after the CBS report aired, he attempted to downplay the myth of his political influence and said the allegations against him were lies.
"I want him to swear in front of the United States Congress, and swear what he is saying is true," Dana Jill Simpson told MSNBC's Dan Abrams. Simpson has previously told news outlets, including RAW STORY, Harpers and 60 Minutes that Rove asked her to gather dirt on Siegelman.
Abrams said Attorney General Michael Mukasey should investigate the case.
"This is about politicizing our justice system and it just cannot go unchecked," he said.
Karl Rove, through his attorney, declared that Simpsonís allegations are false and the story "foolish."
ď60 Minutes owes Mr. Rove an apology for circulating this false and foolish story," Rove attorney's Robert Luskin said.
RAW STORY's earlier reports on the Siegleman case are available here: Part I, Part II, Part III.
The excerpted video is from MSNBC's MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams, broadcast February 25, 2008. MSNBC's full video appears below.
Transcript via closed captions
:: former alabama governor don siegelman, a democrat, remains in a federal penitentiary serving time for bribes and conspiracy. it seems he was singled out and prosecuted because he was a democrat, possibly at the request of former presidential adviser karl rove. a key witness described corruption involving the former governor and two alabama republicans. one currently a federal judge the other a u.s. senator. only siegelman the democrat, was investigated and prosecuted. "60 minutes" reporting that last night that prosecutors met with the witness 70 times to get his testimony straight that not provided to the defense. now more information from a republican lawyer dana jill simpson said she heard discussions at how rove led the effort to bring siegelman down and rove asked her to spy on siegelman and try to catch him cheating on his wife. 52 former state attorneys general, democrats and republicans now crying foul, including grant woods, former ag in arizona who is backing john mccain for president.
:: i haven't seen the case with this many red flags on it that pointed towards a real injustice being done.
:: the group of 52 former ags wrote to thehouse judiciary committee urging them to investigate. when "60 minutes" followed up on our story they either had the worst stroke of bad luck in television history or something far more insidious. this story was mysteriously blacked out in a part of alabama, but only in alabama and only this story. joining us now dana jill simpson and doug jones. thanks very much to both of you. mr. jones, let me start with you. when you were defending him in 2004, so you were clearly under the impression this case was going away.
:: don was under indictment in another district. we met with the prosecutors and talked about it. they had written off a number of the things and clearly gave the impression this case was going south. not until after the case in birmingham was dismissed they got another one.
:: november 2002, siegelman nar lowly loses for governor. he is indicted on krups charges. on october 2004 the charges are dropped. in 2005 he launches another run for governor. october 2005 he is indicted on 32 counts, bribery and conspiracy. he loses the democratic primary and sentenced to seven years in prison.
:: that's right.
:: it's awfully suspicious, isn't it?
:: it is very suspicious if we were correct. i'm telling you this case seemed to be going away. only after that case in birmingham was dismissed we were told there was a meeting in washington. they started over with the case. ramped it up in 2005 that ultimately led to the indictment.
:: all right. and in washington karl rove may have been involved. ms. simpson, you met with karl rove, what did he say to you about mr. siegelman?
:: that he wanted me to find mr. siegelman. he suspected he was cheating on his wife and he asked me if i would follow him.
:: you didn't turn out, you didn't find anything, et cetera, as you did that, but you also overheard phone calls did you not where you heard top republicans in alabama --
:: yes, i did.
:: something about having his girls working on it, not rove but another top alabama official?
:: well, what happened was we had bill canary in alabama basically who was involved in a phone call with me that i had gotten some photos of another matter and bill said he was going to get his girls to take care of don siegelman. he was married to laura canary. the two girls he was talking about was laura canary and alice martin, both united states attorney generals.
:: here is a sound piece from karl rove denying this happened or he met with you.
:: i did not ask her or anyone to dig up dirty photographs on the governor. i've never worked with her. i never met her. i never asked her to do a darn thing. what is your response to that?
:: well, this is what i'd say. since karl rove has said that and he feels so good about saying that i want him to swear in front of the unite congress and swear what he is saying is true.
:: as yo know the, alabama republican party is coming after you saying we can't find one instance of dana jill simple sop volunteering or working on behalf of the alabama republican party nor can we find anyone within the republican party leadership that has ever heard of dana jill simpson.
:: that is absolutely a lie. it has been said by mike hubbard bard the chairman of the republican party. mr. hubbard is going to have a real problem. he has to explain how i was talking on the telephone to the party headquarters in 2006 and also talking to the campaign in 2002 and further he is going to have to also explain how i have records showing i was talking to him in washington and also in virginia. about the campaign. back in 2002.
:: the notion that karl rove even may have been involved in pulling the strings here is an outrage.
:: it is. it needs to be looked at. obviously, you have a new attorney general. somebody needs to look at this because what is following this, dan, i think is important is the fact that nick bailey, the interview with bailey --
:: the key witness.
:: which he is saying is coached. there is an affidavit in a completely different case where the wife of a jefferson county commissioner said agents tried to get her husband to make false statements.
:: i'm going to call for the attorney general michael mukasey, at times i have been critical of, times i have supported, to take a look at this case. somebody needs to take a look at this. attorney general mukasey, we are going to follow up with you. this is serious business. this is about politicizing our justice system and it just cannot go unchecked. doug jones and dana jill simpson, thank you very much.