Mr. Obama: Please restore justice, pardon my dad!
by Dana Siegelman
This column is a direct copy of Dana’s heartfelt appeal for her father—former governor of Alabama Don Siegelman—who is doing hard time for a (non) ‘crime’ that was maliciously and wrongfully prosecuted basically by evil ‘friends of Karl Rove.’ [One of the tragic ironies of our demented era that the vicious little mass-murdering turd blossom Rove remains at large, while a good man languishes behind bars.]
From time to time I bring up the Free Don message because a) he’s an admirable and wonderfully decent human being who committed no act of aggression and b) if a former governor, with all his access and resources, can be railroaded and overcharged into harsh prison life because he offended powerful people, anyone else can be sent to the American Gulag at the whim of an office secretary. It means there is no justice and America is officially a police state. Freeing Don does more than restore a humane, caring individual to liberty, it takes a LARGE BITE out of the prison planet and domination by the Men of the Power Sickness of us all. If Don Siegelman can be sent to jail, anyone can be… and everyone will be.
Five years ago, my dad, former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman, was taken away in handcuffs and shackles. Most who learned of his case saw it as a travesty of justice, including several prominent Republicans (see 60 Minutes).
Though released pending appeal for four years and despite unprecedented support, my father was returned to prison on September 11th to complete a nearly 7 year term because the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox Business News, MSNBC, CBS, Harper’s, Time Magazine, The American Trial Lawyers, Huffington Post, The Guardian, 113 former state Attorneys General, top Constitutional Law Professors, and many others say this case is erroneous and Don Siegelman never commited a crime.
He was convicted of an implied quid pro quo, that is an inferred bribe, or a bribe without explicit proof of agreement or self-enrichment scheme. He was never accused of benefiting, at all.
I need your help to free my father. Please sign this petition to President Obama asking him to restore justice and pardon Don Siegelman!
Gov. Don Siegelman was the 51st Governor of Alabama, serving from 1999 to 2003. He served in Alabama in public office for 26 years and is the only person in the history of the state to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected positions: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He was essentially the longest running Democrat in the Southeast.
My dad was wrongfully convicted in 2007 in a case that Pace Law Professor Bennett Gershman called “one of the most egregiously bad faith prosecutions by the Justice Department ever.” Numerous public servants such as Al Gore, John Kerry, and Wesley Clark believe my father was wrongly prosecuted and wrongly convicted.
The American Trial Lawyer Magazine has called Dad America’s “Political Prisoner #1.” The New York Times said my dad was charged with something that has never even been considered a crime in America, and CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that the prosecution team coached key witness Nick Bailey more than 70 times and offered him a deal to testify against my father.
Conservative columnist George Will expressed in The Washington Post, “Everyone who cares about the rule of law should hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear Don Siegelman’s appeal….today’s confusion and the resulting prosecutorial discretion kill the exercise of Constitutional right, of political participation and can imprison people unjustly.”
More than 100 state Attorney Generals, both Republican and Democrat, many law professors, and thousands of people like you, have tried to help, garnering the attention of the media, organizing letter campaigns, and writing excellent articles, but ultimately the case was left to the courts. Even Fox Business News sympathized with Dad!
113 current and former state Attorney Generals from across the U.S. signed a brief to the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court saying, “There is reason to believe that the case brought against Governor Siegelman may have had sufficient irregularities as to call into question the basic fairness that is the linchpin of our system of justice.”
Fred Gray, attorney to Rosa Parks, and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, both close companions to the late Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., came to court to hold my mom’s hand the day of sentencing in 2007. They wrote letters to the Department of Justice, to Congress, and to the President to convey that Don Siegelman is the “target of the Bush Justice Department, which has now endangered the style of government we fought so hard for.”
However, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans, far from it. It is simply about what’s right and wrong, what is fair and what is not. As Thomas Jefferson said, “A prosecutor who alleges enough wrong doing will always get a conviction.” Former U.S. Attorney General Robert H. Jackson said, “If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power…”
This petition is much more than just one man’s freedom. It is about American freedom. If this can happen to my dad, as governor, it can happen to anyone. The law is so unclear, all it takes is a prosecutor with a vendetta against you. As Dad explained when the surprise verdict came in 2007; “This is dangerous to our democracy and it is wrong. If this ruling stands, rogue prosecutors or a rogue Justice Department can prosecute contributors and elected officials they simply do not like.”
Please join me in asking President Obama to pardon my dad and let this issue stand before Congress and the Supreme Court.
Al Gore appealed, “Don Siegelman isn’t just fighting for his freedom – he’s fighting for the integrity of our democracy… As Americans, we have a responsibility to protect our democracy from those who would take advantage of it and abuse their power.”
Please sign and share my petition asking President Obama to grant Don Siegelman clemency!
The Supreme Court has denied my dad’s appeal, and he has been re-sentenced to more than five years in prison. At this point, my dad’s only hope is a commutation of sentence or pardon. Our hope for truth lies in holding our elected officials accountable. Our hope for justice is a great public outcry. Please join me in asking the President of the United States for clemency in my dad’s case by signing the petition on Change.org and sharing this message publicly however you can. By doing so we may one day clarify the law and keep our democracy and freedom intact.
Thank you so much for considering the facts and helping me free my dad!
With the greatest appreciation,
Note: I was reminded of the continuing plight of Mr. Siegelman by a letter (email) from his daughter, which unfortunately they don’t provide a Webpage for. But it’s significant, and I ask everyone to call or write their legislators for the general cause of ending the police state—harsh, disproportionate sentences for nonaggressive crimes. Here’s the email message I received:
Dear Friends and Family,
Dad is doing well! He spends his time in prison helping others cope with the legal process of seeking clemency, especially minorities who have received disturbingly long sentences, and he is acting as a life coach to many of the young men. He wishes he could write each of you personally to tell you how fortunate he feels to have you in his life.
He would appreciate if you wrote to your member of Congress about disproportionate sentences for minorities, harsh drug laws for small time drug offenses, and lengthy sentences for non-violent inmates in general.
Dad would love if you took a moment to thank Congressman Steve Cohen for addressing the Siegelman case with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a House Judiciary Committee meeting recently. Congressman Cohen has been incredibly supportive and is scheduled to speak about the case this week on Huffington Post Live. His address is:
The Honorable Steve Cohen
2404 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
If you would like to donate to Dad’s commissary or legal defense fund, you can do so here. My family is honored and blessed by your support and appreciates you everyday. I hope to be celebrating Dad’s freedom with you very soon!
With very best wishes,
Please Sign the Petition
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Ok, but why no discussion of the details of the alleged crime?