SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery, Inspector Javert has issued the following statement for the press, which we reproduce with a translation into English and annotations. Because the public has the right to know the truth.
Recently, a number of articles, editorials, and postings on blogs have been authored by out-of-state reporters, columnists, and bloggers about the investigation and prosecution of Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. Though these media reports appear to be part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign about the case, they have generated questions that I want to address once and for all on the record because I believe the public has a right to know the truth.
That’s right, the national media has finally figured out our shenanigans, is working its way through the mountains of lies we put up, and is exposing what we did in secret to the bright light of the truth. The only response to this is to denounce them. Remember the days of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, back in the sixties? We pointed to everyone who came to Alabama asking for justice for all of its people and screamed: “Outside agitators!” We called the complaints of civil rights workers an “orchestrated disinformation campaign.” It worked then. It will work now. In any event, let’s try it and see. Heaven forbid that people actually read the TIME magazine articles, the New York Times stories, the coming segment on 60 Minutes or that blasted blog at Harper’s! We really can’t answer their presentation of documented facts, so the best course is just to plead with people to ignore them. The public is better off being kept completely in the dark. That’s the reason why we have refused to turn over the documents that Congress requested in its probe of our conduct—which we have stonewalled every inch of the way.
Leura Canary was not involved, in any way, in any of the decisions about who would and would not be prosecuted. Her recusal was scrupulously honored by me. As the Acting United States Attorney in the case, I made all decisions about the case after consultation with other career prosecutors. Any assertion or insinuation to the contrary is an outright falsehood and a lie.
This is Leura Canary’s sock puppet speaking. I work for her, she pays my salary and does my performance evaluations, and my job is to defend her—if I want to keep my job, that is. That includes peddling amazing whoppers to the effect that Mrs. William Canary has nothing to do with the case. In fact, Leura Canary initiated this case and has pushed it every step of the way, appearing at press conferences and even giving interviews about it to the press in recent weeks. In fact, the key decisions concerning the case were made by Leura Canary, Noel Hillman and Hillman’s superiors in Washington, partisan Republican political appointees who were throughout this case pursuing a strictly partisan agenda—of ensuring the Republican Party’s control of the Alabama statehouse and destroying the state’s most prominent Democrat. It wasn’t my agenda, but I helped.
All viable federal felony offenses discovered during the investigation were appropriately and properly addressed. Political party affiliation played no role in my decision making.
And it was so easy determining that those claims were not “viable.” We work for Leura Canary and the individuals in the cross-hairs were clients of Leura Canary’s husband. Why would anyone who works for Mrs. William Canary have the slightest difficulty in making that call? As TIME has established, and others following up on the story have now confirmed, we made no effort to do follow up questioning or to investigate the allegations surrounding Judge Pryor and Senator Sessions, even though the allegations surrounding them were far more incriminating than the allegations made surrounding Governor Siegelman. Why? Had we actually performed an investigation, it would have created a record, and that would have made it very difficult to decide not to move forward with charges. By not conducting an investigation, we had no information in the files except Mr. Young’s statements. It’s called job security. Because Pryor and Sessions are Republicans and Siegelman is a Democrat. Because Pryor and Sessions are clients of Leura Canary’s better half, and Siegelman is the man he was paid to take out. And that’s why Leura’s husband crowed that he had talked to Karl Rove and Karl Rove had talked to Justice and now everything was going to be taken care of. And if you don’t believe that, you’re a truly dim bulb. Or perhaps you’re disseminating rank falsehoods.
Our entire investigative file was turned over to the dozens of extremely able lawyers hired to represent the accused and all information discovered during the investigation was available to them to use in their defense in any way cognizable under the Constitution of the United States. Common sense suggests that if a viable motion for selective prosecution existed, it would have been filed. Simply put, no motion alleging selective prosecution was filed because there were no facts to support it. The comments of a few Monday morning quarterback writers, editors, and bloggers to the contrary are either a deliberate effort to deceive or are occurring because they do not have all the facts available to them. For a variety of reasons, these media members are unwilling to accept the inevitable result of facts being laid bare in the crucible of the federal criminal courtroom.
This was a politically motivated prosecution, and it wouldn’t be good for my career to admit that they made me the front man for it. So I’ll roll out some real whoppers. I’ll point to the fact that they made no motion to dismiss the case as a selective prosecution, and I’ll pray that no one actually pulls up the court files and reads the motion papers that I filed on April 16, 2006, in which I got a pre-trial instruction in limine preventing Siegelman and his attorneys from arguing that this was a politically motivated trial. And of course, I had Judge Fuller’s full support in this process. After all, he’s a former member of the Executive Committee of the Alabama G.O.P. and he couldn’t have any of this come up—it would be embarrassing. Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor are his friends. In fact it was on Sessions’s recommendation that Fuller got appointed to the bench. So we can’t have that. That’s why there was no motion to dismiss for politically motivated prosecution. But isn’t it much simpler and more convincing just to dissemble about it in a bombastic press release filled with false indignation?
This case was fully litigated in an open forum where everyone was compelled by law to speak the truth. In this context, Siegelman’s and Scrushy’s peers convicted them because they are guilty of public corruption offenses.
We got a conviction by stacking the evidence, misusing our powers as prosecutors by improperly leaking information about our case to the journalists who worked with us (and who I praised repeatedly during the trial—great job guys!), and securing warped and misdirected testimony from witnesses by offering them plea bargains. As we told several of them, this case is not about you, we just need to nail Governor Siegelman—the guys in Washington are intent on bagging him. When prosecutors ignore the requirements of the canons of ethics and set their minds on getting a conviction, it’s amazing the injustices they can work.
Any unbiased review of the evidence discovered during this investigation and the manner in which the investigation was conducted will reveal the incredible commitment to the public interest and dedication to duty of the federal and state agents working under my supervision. I am proud of them and the work they did. The taxpayers should be as well.
Please don’t look at the evidence or read the transcript of the trial. You’d quickly see what a complete farce it was. But it was a great investment. We spent roughly $30 million in taxpayer’s money to take down the state’s most prominent Democrats at the direction of Karl Rove and his movement conservative buddies in the upper reaches of the Justice Department. It’s saved the G.O.P. a mint in subsequent campaign costs. But there are plenty of sincere, hard-working staffers at the Middle District U.S. Attorney’s office who are concerned about the complete travesty that was worked in the Siegelman case. That’s how TIME, Harper’s No Comment and The New York Times have been able to construct what actually happened in the case, and it’s why
Truth is on the march. . .
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”