House Committee Wants Siegelman Testimony
The controversy surrounding the conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D) took a dramatic turn Thursday, when House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) asked the Bush administration for the temporary release of the imprisoned Democrat — currently serving seven years on charges of bribery and obstruction of justice — so he can testify before the committee about his case, The* * reported today.
The Siegelman saga came to the attention of Conyers’ committee as part of a broader investigation into allegations that the Bush administration has sought to prosecute powerful Democrats for strictly political reasons. A episode airing last month contains statements from a Republican lawyer who claims that in 2001, then-White House adviser Karl Rove asked her to get evidence that Siegelman was cheating on his wife. Rove denied the charge.
In 2004, as Siegelman was preparing another run for governor, the Justice Dept. brought charges against him surrounding a Medicaid-related scam. The judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. Two years later, Justice filed bribery and obstruction of justice charges, and a jury found Siegelman guilty on seven counts. Skeptics have pointed out that Siegelman was not actually convicted of enriching himself in exchange for a political favor. (Siegelman renewed the bribee’s seat on a medical board after making a donation to a lottery campaign fund supported by Siegelman.)
According to , Conyers’ office has proposed that Siegelman be accompanied to the May hearing by the U.S. Marshals Office. The Justice Dept., The reported, declined to comment.