Siegelman Prosecution Update

Late last month, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman asked the judge who presided over his corruption trial to grant him a new trial on the ground that evidence of prosecutorial misconduct had recently been discovered by his co-defendant, Richard Scrushy. Siegelman's motion (pdf) alleges (among other facts) that federal prosecutors failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, including their extensive coaching of witnesses, and failed to correct false or misleading testimony during trial.

Justice Department paralegal Tamarah Grimes was a key source of the new information cited in Siegelman's motion. Grimes was fired after writing a lengthy letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlining her observations of prosecutorial misconduct in Siegelman's case.

In recent days, attention has focused on allegations that the government induced the cooperation of a key witness, former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey, by making an implied threat to expose his alleged sexual relationship with Siegelman. [more ...]

The allegations are supported by the sworn statement (pdf) of Bailey's current employer, Luther Pate. According to Pate:

The "stick" that the government used with Nick was to threaten, expressly or implicitly, actions that would profoundly affect his personal life. I particularly remember that Nick was visibly shaken by a call he received at the office one day when I was present in which he was called by one of the prosecutors working on the Bobo prosecution (Nick said, at that time and since, that it was Matt Hart). 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.

TalkLeft's coverage of the Siegelman prosecution is collected here, including posts that asked why Attorney General Eric Holder, who remedied prosecutorial misconduct in the prosecutions of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens and two Republican state legislators from Alaska, hasn't shown the same commitment to fairness in Siegelman's case. Aren't Democratic politicians as entitled to a fair trial as Republican politicians? That question has been echoed by the Restore Justice At Justice Campaign, which asks individuals and organizations to demand that Holder take a stand for justice in Siegelman's case.

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    This is one case that just begs for (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:34:46 PM EST
    an investigation if not a dismissal, and I would have some serious misgivings about Holder if what happened to Don Siegelman - as well as others involved who were trying to see that real justice was done - is allowed to stand.

    The misconduct in this case pales in comparison to anything that occured in the Stevens case - honestly, reading the details is like reading a novel that James Patterson and John Grisham might have collaborated on, except, in this case it would be non-fiction.

    I've never really known (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:57:30 PM EST
    what to make of the Siegelman case, but the allegations about the firing of the whistleblower are really troubling.  Hope this story isn't over.

    When is an informant a whistleblower? (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:56:45 PM EST
    I would think (none / 0) (#4)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:59:23 PM EST
    that someone alleging wrongdoing within their own organization is generally regarded as a whistleblower.  I don't know the legal definition, and obviously, the DOJ is taking the official position that the whistleblower protection laws were not violated.

    The Cal Supremes decided a civil (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 07:02:21 PM EST
    service lawyer in the Dept. of Insurance wasn't protected when she disclosed information detrimental to the former commissioner.

    "Aide" Nick Bailey and sex?? (none / 0) (#7)
    by diogenes on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 10:23:14 PM EST
    CEO's shouldn't have sex with their aides; if there was no sex, then how was this blackmail and why would Nick Bailey suddenly and completely cave in?  

    You don't suppose (none / 0) (#10)
    by TChris on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 05:46:35 PM EST
    that the threat to publicized a false accusation and thus destroy a reputation could be an element of blackmail? Whether the relationship was or wasn't sexual isn't the issue; extorting testimony by threatening to disclose real or fictitious information is wrong in either case.

    I will put no credence on the possibility of that kind of a relationship and focus on the affect a threat of exposure would have (even if it weren't true). Maybe Nick has a past . At any rate those kind of threats are unethical at best.