Bush’s DOJ: Okay, Maybe We Won’t Imprison Siegelman for 30 Years

Isn’t that nice? The Siegelman prosecutors have decided maybe it isn’t so important to jail Don Siegelman for 30 years after all.

Federal prosecutors are no longer seeking stiffer prison sentences for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. 

Prosecutors filed a motion this week with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that their appeals of the sentences be dropped. Their appeal had called for a longer prison term than Siegelman’s more than seven-year sentence and Scrushy’s almost seven-year sentence.

The latest filing does not say why prosecutors want to drop their appeal.

I can’t imagine why, when everyone in the country is close to concluding that the entire prosecution was a big political witch hunt, they don’t want to go argue for more prison time for Siegelman. Can you?

Perhaps this means we’ll see prosecutors making a motion in a few weeks saying, "golly, maybe we didn’t really want to prosecute Siegelman after all."

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23 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    It was an absolutely idiotic move in the first place. In criminal trial law circles, this is known as “upping the ante” against a defendant for legally and properly exercising Constitutional and procedural rights. Strictly verbotten; and only served to multiply how politically craven the prosecution was, and looked, in the first place.

    • Ishmael says:

      What are your thoughts on the prospects of a malicious prosecution action by Siegelman against DOJ, Rove, etc?

      • bmaz says:

        Dunno; still too much in flux. They just removed the one thing that would have insured a likely basis for that though.

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Was Siegelman actually guilty of anything?

    Boxturtle (Bet we can’t prove enough of a Rove connection to get Karl)

    • Ishmael says:

      Well, that’s the rub – Siegleman appointed Scrushy to a health care board after Scrushy donated to a government educational foundation supported by Siegleman – I don’t think Siegleman ever disputed that there was a quid-pro-quo, but he never personally profited from any of Scrushy’s donations to the foundation, either directly or indirectly. If you think this is a crime when Democrats do it, welcome to the Bush DOJ.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I’ve no idea what the law actually says in cases like this, but I’m one of those odd folks who thinks if it’s a crime for one, it’s a crime for all.

        Boxturtle (I fear I just lost my chance for a job at the Bush DOJ)

        • Ishmael says:

          Sorry, I guess my snark wasn’t apparent – clearly Siegleman is not guilty of a crime, IMHO.

        • rapt says:

          And Leen too. Y’all are just a little too pie-in-the-sky for me.

          I have a small collection of experiences from earlier in life. Was busted for things like driving w/o license (on me) – jail for that, speeding – jail, u-turn – jail, carrying beer in back of my car – jail, being a 15 yo hitchhiking w/o calling home – jail.

          Then later when I got a more mature gentlemanly look about me and drove a decent car it was more like OK sir, sorry to bother you.

          Quit yr dreaming about a perfect police state where everyone gets due respect. Ask any black person if he thinks his odds of being jailed are better or worse than those for a white man. And look at the statistics. Any blacks here want to comment?

          And no it isn’t going to change noticeably; it is human and burro-cratic nature to categorise likely perps, in other words to go with one’s gut feel which is rarely “fair”.

          I’m not referring to Siegelman here though, whose jailing was just practical politics at the least respectful level. Worth considering: as a jew he may not have the right connections in Alabama to keep him safe.

          • Leen says:

            “Quit your dreaming about a perfect police state”.

            Certainly not dreaming about “perfect”. Just “dreamin” about a Justice system that is not so clearly set up for those who have and don’t have money or power. You know two America’s with several justice systems.

      • bmaz says:

        Bingo. Take, for instance, the lovely Diaz brothers. From the Miami Herald:

        A Maryland prosthetics company pushing a new federal bill that would broaden insurance coverage for its products — and boost its bottom line — has enlisted significant political support from two of South Florida’s most prominent members of Congress.
        Congressmen Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart are among the bill’s key backers. At the same time, the company is backing their reelection bids.

        Hanger Orthopedic Group’s political action committee and its executives provided more than $10,000 in campaign contributions to the brothers in the weeks before they co-sponsored the prosthetics parity bill on March 13.

        As dedicated and concerned as they are about prosthetics, they sure didn’t seem to have any interest before being seeded with the dough eh? But the far more important thing that strikes me is that if what Don Siegelman did was a crime worthy of Federal convictions and a 7 plus year prison sentence, the Diaz boys ought to be due for what, maybe 10 to 12 years? Because what is evidenced here is the same exact thing as alleged in Siegalman, except for geometrically worse. Well, actually, fact is Siegalman’s actions really don’t appear criminal because he got no direct benefit; he was trying to get some state beneficial program aided and he put the guy on some dinky advisory committee, big whoopee; the Diaz brothers look very quid pro quo.

  3. PetePierce says:

    As Bmaz knows, the odds for a successful malicious prosecution action and also there are code sections here and case law for making DOJ reimburse someone for attorney’s fees in this country, are extremely low. The bar is very very high to be successful. I don’t know how it is for you all in the Canadian legal system.

    And almost all OIG or OPR investigations are jokes. They protect the hell out of their own.

    There have been exceptions. The attorney in Oregon or Utah, can’t remember which who was prosecuted as a terrorist and exonerated (even before a trial) successfully won a huge settlement from the fuckmesiters at DOJ.

    Now with State Secrets in the mix and adopted by the cowed and compliant federal judiciary who pisses in its pants at its own shadow to put it ellegantly and professionally, it gets harder and harder to get reperations.

    One note on the Siegelman case in the Eleventh Circuit is that the prosecution filed motions to drop their appeals of his sentence. I think there is a stronger chance that the Eleventh Circuit panel will give Siegelman a rare dismissal (and they are rarer than chicky teeth in this country) than one of my favorite Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan will successfully nail Rove or even get him before the House Judiciary Committee.

    I have hoped (and I probably don’t realize the extent to which Marcy might know the Michigan Senators and Congress people because of her long work with the Democratic party) that if Marcy keeps running into Conyers and Levin they and their staffs will become readers here and use all the hard work that goes into this blog.

    Can’t get the script from the link button and my html skills are rusty so:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/s…..TE=DEFAULT

    Prosecutors drop appeal of Siegelman and Scrushy sentences

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are no longer seeking stiffer prison sentences for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

    Prosecutors filed a motion this week with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that their appeals of the sentences be dropped. Their appeal had called for a longer prison term than Siegelman’s more than seven-year sentence and Scrushy’s almost seven-year sentence.

    The latest filing does not say why prosecutors want to drop their appeal.

    Prosecutors originally asked that Siegelman be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison and Scrushy to 25 years.

  4. PetePierce says:

    Yikes I posted before I read EW’s headline. Not good practice. I’m sorry–the news just prompted her post. I must say I have seen a lot of ridiculous prosecutions and surely Bmaz could write a book on them, but this Siegelman case and a lot of others I could write a law review on is so systemically tainted it just reeks.

    • Ishmael says:

      In Canada, malicious prosecutions have not been successful for all the reasons that you can imagine – however, there have been numerous Royal Commissions and public inquiries into wrongful convictions (not just the sincere but misguided/overzealous prosecutor types, but systemic racism and so forth) that have led to compensation and exonneration – this may be the way to go in the Siegleman case, not least because it would make it public and not likely to be settled on the courthouse steps….

  5. maryo2 says:

    Yesterday, June 3, AP reported – Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy is asking a federal appeals court to overturn his conviction in a government corruption case.

    The appeal was filed late Monday in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Lawyers say Scrushy should get a new trial or have his conviction reversed.

  6. PJEvans says:

    This news in:

    Jury finds political fundraiser Tony Rezko guilty on 16 of 24 counts in Ill. corruption trial

    PatFitz gets his man – again.

    • bmaz says:

      Yet no coverage by the media. They were pretty hot on this story before the Rove stuff started flooding out and Obama won.

      • Petrocelli says:

        I always saw that as the classic Rovian play of hanging his guilt around someone else’s neck … in this case, Obama’s

        Good work by the Tribune to remove that cloud

  7. FrankProbst says:

    This news in:

    Jury finds political fundraiser Tony Rezko guilty on 16 of 24 counts in Ill. corruption trial

    PatFitz gets his man – again.
    —–
    Sorry much for the it’s-going-to-be-a-hung-jury storyline. Time to cut a deal, Tony.

  8. JThomason says:

    Yes, its very nice. Still the pleasures of disproportional sentencing are something any self respecting executive should enjoy, you know one of the perks (or should I say spoils) of arbitrary power that come with political triumph. Push hard enough those pesky objections of due process and equal protection are easily run over–a few pro forma elections under a loose set of rules and active caging operations to give the color of democratic legitimacy may be required but otherwise why not rule with a kind of inquisitorial severity as if one had divine right?

    If only fashion would come back around so that our politicians could where frilly French cuffs. Gesundheit!!

    • Leen says:

      “the color of democratic legitimacy” Would the Libby trial and then the commutation be an example of this?

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