Jailed governor's daughter accuses judge of delaying appeal
At the heart of the case of imprisoned former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman are charges that he was railroaded by Karl Rove and the Republican Party. MSNBC host Dan Abrams has become a passionate advocate for Siegelman's cause, and in an extended segment on Wednesday's program, he examined various aspects of this allegation.
Dana Siegelman, the former governor's daughter, joined Abrams Wednesday to discuss attempts to get her father's sentence reviewed. She said her father was "excited" and "reencouraged" by the CBS and MSNBC coverage of his case and that she believes Judge Mark Fuller is deliberately "sitting on" the transcript of Siegelman's 2006 trial that has to be available before any appeal can go forward.
She confirmed that her father "absolutely" believes Rove is responsible for his incarceration. "He knows Karl Rove is behind this. ... My dad was the first governor to endorse Al Gore. ... He spoke at the Democratic national meeting in Boston and said some things that were very controversial and things that scared the Republican Party into thinking that my dad was also looking to run on a national scale."
Earlier in the program, Abrams spoke to legal professor Scott Horton, an expert on the Siegelman case, and asked him about the blackout of last Sunday's 60 Minutes segment on Siegelman by an Alabama television station. Horton dismissed the possibility that there could have been a technical failure as the station claims, although he did acknowledge that "it may not have been a conscious management decision."
"The station is run by an investment group that is headed by one of the Bass brothers," Horton stated. "They're very, very close to Bush. ... In fact, the CBS people in New York told me, this is a station that was known for its hostility to Governor Siegelman."
Alabama whistleblower: Ask Rove to swear before Congress he never met me
Abrams then played part of an interview he did earlier this week with former Republican operative Dana Jill Simpson, who has claimed that Karl Rove orchestrated the attempt to bring down Governor Siegelman and personally directed her to try to get evidence of Siegelman cheating on his wife.
Abrams asked Simpson about Rove's denial that he ever met with her. Simpson responded, "Since Karl Rove has said that, and he feels so good about saying that, what I want him to do is go and swear in front of the United States Congress and swear what he is saying is true. ... Karl Rove has refused to do so. ... I met with Karl Rove probably three times. ... I also talked to him multiple times."
Critics have challenged Simpson's latest revelations about Rove by asking why she never mentioned them prior to the 60 Minutes story, but Simpson told Abrams that she had brought them up several times. "When I talked to those Congressional investigators, I told them that I had followed Don Siegelman and tried to get pictures of him cheating on his wife. However, they suggested to me that that was not relevant because there was nothing illegal about that and they just preferred that it not come out at the hearing."
Simpson also rebutted claims by the Alabama Republican Party that she never worked for them, citing phone records in her possession showing her calls to state party leaders.
Scott Horton reinforced Dana Siegelman's remarks by saying that the Siegelman forces need to push hard for him to be released pending his appeal. "There is no legitimate reason for the Court of Appeals to continue to hold him," Horton stated. "What's going on is a complete travesty."
"We are not dropping the subject," Abrams concluded.
RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna has reported extensively on the Siegelman case in these articles:
How a coterie of Republican heavyweights sent a governor to jail
Daughter of jailed governor sees White House hand in her father's fall
Running elections from the White House
This video is from MSNBC's Live with Dan Abrams, broadcast February 27, 2008.