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We can now add sexual blackmail to the long list of misconduct charges lodged against the federal prosecutors who led a vendetta-like case against former Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman. In an affidavit filed in support of Siegelman’s request for a new trial, a prominent Alabama businessman, Stan Pate, describes how federal prosecutors and investigators threatened to disclose innuendo about the sexuality of a key witness, former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey. The feds hinted about disclosing an improper liaison between him and the former governor to secure his cooperation. No evidence of these questions or of Bailey’s answers appeared in reports prepared by the feds and turned over in discovery. The case therefore adds to a growing mound of credible allegations that public integrity prosecutors violated the law by suppressing exculpatory evidence and engaged in unethical and possibly illegal conduct in pursuit of their claims.
Nick was told that the government was working to prevent the publicizing of an alleged sexual relationship between Nick and Don Siegelman. Nick also told me that one of the agents working the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution asked him whether he had ever taken illegal drugs with Governor Siegelman or had a sexual relationship with him. These comments had a dramatic effect on Nick, and, in my observation, added significantly to the pressure he felt to go along with whatever the prosecutors wanted him to say.
These developments are discussed in an article in the Huffington Post by attorney-journalist Andrew Kreig published this morning.
As misconduct allegations against the prosecution team continue to mount and are now increasingly corroborated by a key source inside the prosecution team, whistleblower Tamarah Grimes, no sign of action by the main Justice Department in Washington can be detected. When Grimes was fired last month, Justice figures provided conflicting explanations of the reasons for her termination. All of the explanations were, however, clearly linked to her whistleblower activities–raising questions about the Justice Department’s compliance with whistleblower protection legislation. In response to inquiries, the Justice Department insisted that it “takes seriously its obligation under the whistleblower law” and did not violate the law, without offering any further explanation.
Moreover, Leura Canary, the U.S. attorney in Montgomery, remains in office after Alabama Republican senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby derailed the Obama administration’s efforts to put a successor in place by lodging objections. While Sessions and Shelby both deny they’re trying to keep Canary in office, the consequence of their serial objections, for which they offer no public explanation, is just that. Both show remarkable concern about the prospect of Canary’s removal and replacement by a new prosecutor unconnected to them. What has Jeff Sessions so bothered? I have a hunch.
Time’s Adam Zagorin reported in 2007 that a key witness in the Siegelman investigation offered evidence implicating Sessions in bribery allegations far more substantial than those raised against Siegelman. The prosecutor handling the matter quickly scurried to sweep these allegations under the carpet. I then disclosed that the prosecutor handling the matter was the wife of Sessions’s attorney, a fact that under applicable Justice ethics standards required her withdrawal from the matter. It appears that the Justice Department has never investigated or acted on any of this evidence of prosecutorial misconduct involving Sessions. While the statute of limitations may now shield Sessions from criminal charges, a new U.S. attorney in Montgomery may very well feel compelled to examine the gross and ongoing ethics lapses within the office.
Canary, who oversaw the prosecution of Siegelman even as she purported to have recused herself from the case, is the wife of William Canary, a leading Alabama G.O.P. campaign advisor and close friend of Karl Rove.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”