Seven 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 2012 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,
We, along with 113 former Attorneys General, both Republican and Democrat, top Constitutional Law professors, and former presidential candidates Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and Al Gore question the irregularities in the Siegelman case that, the Attorneys General say, “call into question the basic fairness that is the linchpin of our system of justice.”
Governor Siegelman was convicted of bribery, involving a contribution to a referendum advocacy campaign to establish free college education for Alabama’s underprivileged children. The courts concluded that Mr. Siegelman did not pocket a penny and the agreement between he and his contributor was an implied “explicit” quid pro quo. This is a first in U.S. jurisprudence.
What’s more, Siegelman was indicted by the U S Attorney’s Office in Alabama’s Middle District where the U.S. Attorney was the wife of his opponent’s campaign manager! That is correct; Siegelman’s prosecution started at the hands of the U.S. Attorney whose husband was running Siegelman’s opponent’s campaign (See CBS’s 60 Minutes, February 24th 2008).
Siegelman has served over nine months in prison, one month in solitary confinement, and three weeks in a maximum-security prison. He has lost his law license, most of his assets, his reputation, and freedom. We believe serving more time in prison serves no public purpose, and we respectfully request that you grant Don Siegelman clemency.
Thank you for your immediate attention and action!