- 1979 to 1987
Siegelman served as Alabama’s Secretary of State
- 1987 to 1991
Siegelman served as Alabama’s Attorney General
Karl Rove is hired by the Business Council of Alabama to work with veteran GOP operative Bill Canary on winning races for the state supreme court. Rove brings with him from Texas the strategy of successfully demonizing Democratic judges by painting them as pawns of “wealthy personal-injury trial lawyers.” The Atlantic “Karl Rove in a Corner”
- 1995 to 1999
Siegelman served as Alabama’s Lt. Gov.
A series of states brings lawsuits against the tobacco companies, with the support of the National Association of Attorneys General. Karl Rove, by then the top political consultant to Governor George W. Bush, strategizes with the pro-smoking forces. Rove invoice to Phillip Morris Texans for Public Justice
In Alabama , Republican Governor Fob James and Attorney General William Pryor resist joining in the lawsuits. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Don Siegelman accuses Pryor of being too close to the tobacco industry and privately urges two universities to sue the tobacco companies on their own. Press-Register – “Special Report: Siegelman . . . USA tobacco lawsuit”
- 1998 November
Democrat Don Siegelman is elected Alabama governor, defeating incumbent Fob James. Among his campaign issues is a state lottery to fund public education. William Pryor is re-elected attorney general, in a campaign managed by Karl Rove and Bill Canary.
- 1999 January
Inauguration: Don Siegelman sworn in as governor of Alabama. He served until January 2003, ending a more than 20-year political career. The Siegelman family leads a crowd of parade goers up Dexter Avenue toward the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery during the 1999 inauguration.
- 1999 March
Attorney General William Pryor opens an investigation into the administration of newly-elected Governor Don Siegelman.
Federal grand jury indicts Siegelman in the Northern District of Alabama
The Case is thrown out for lack of evidence
- 2005 May
Federal grand jury indicts Siegelman in the Middle District
A federal grand jury indicts Siegelman and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy (and others) on bribery charges that Scrushy bought a seat on a state health board by arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman’s 1999 State Educational Lottery Campaign.
- 2006 June 29
Siegelman convicted – Federal jury finds Siegelman & Scrushy guilty of bribery, conspiracy, and mail fraud. Siegelman is also found guilty of obstruction of justice.
- 2007 June 28
Siegelman sentenced – U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller sentences Siegelman to 88 months and Scrushy to 82 months in prison. Judge orders both men taken into custody immediately.
- 2012 June – U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Siegelman appeal – U.S. Supreme Court declines to review Siegelman’s case. – the U.S. Department of Justice had argued before that decision. Siegelman has maintained there was no agreement with Scrushy to swap the donation for the appointment. Since his conviction, Siegelman has pushed his case in the appellate court and court of public opinion arguing if he could be prosecuted, so could any other politician in America that bestows a favorable action on donors.
2012 August – Siegelman resentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to 78 months in prison, 10 months less than his original sentence. Siegelman had two charges tossed out by an appeals court, prompting the sentence reduction. The judge had earlier cut Scrushy’s sentence from 82 months to 70 months because two charges were tossed out in his case.
2012 September 11 – Siegelman returned to Oakdale Federal Prison in Louisiana.
2015 May – Federal appeals court upheld the bribery conviction and prison sentence of Siegelman. The former governor, a Democrat, had argued a prosecutor with ties to GOP politics remained involved in his case despite her recusal but the appellate judges said there was no evidence she influenced the prosecution team, the Associated Press reported.
2015 October – Siegelman was sent to solitary confinement for 57 days after he had conducted what prison officials said was an unauthorized interview on the Thom Hartmann Program.
2016 April – One hundred former state attorneys general sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking a pardon for Siegelman.
2016 April – Siegelman was sent into solitary confinement again after being interviewed for an April 22 story by the Washington Post. The newspaper quoted a prison official as saying Siegelman was cited for running a business from prison, misuse of the mail and a catch-all prohibition against behavior that is disruptive of prison operations. A shirt Siegelman had worn in prison sold on Ebay for $4,500, with proceeds going to help fund “Atticus v. The Architect,” a documentary being made about the former governor’s conviction.
The Rove-Canary-Pryor Connection
Karl Rove became involved in Alabama politics in 1994, when he joined with veteran GOP operative Bill Canary to help elect pro-corporate Republican judges to the Alabama state supreme court. A further ally of Rove’s and Canary’s was Alabama Attorney General William Pryor. Both Rove in Texas and Pryor in Alabama tried to discourage their respective states from actively pursuing the 1996-97 state lawsuits against the tobacco industry, which formed an important aspect of their pro-corporate agenda. However, Alabama’s Democratic Lieutanant Governor Don Siegelman was a strong supporter of the tobacco lawsuits. In November 1998, Siegelman was elected Alabama governor, defeating the Republican incumbent, at the same time that Pryor was re-elected attorney general. Just a few weeks after Siegelman took office, Pryor began an investigation of his administration. It was this investigation that would lead many years later to Siegelman’s conviction and imprisonment.
The Abramoff-Reed-Riley Connection
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff had his own reasons for being opposed to Governor Don Siegelman. Not only had Siegelman campaigned in 1998 on the issue of setting up an Alabama lottery to help fund public education, but he also supported Indian gambling in the state. Abramoff saw both of these initiations as threatening the casino revenues of his own tribal clients, and early in 1999, he arranged for Ralph Reed to run a stealth lobbying campaign against them, using his connections in the religious right. Reed was a long-time associate of Abramoff’s, going back to their College Republican days in the early 80’s, and also an ally of Karl Rove, who had helped him get into the lobbying business when he left the Christian Coalition in 1997.
Don Tells His Story
Siegelman Media 2007
- Roved Linked to Alabama Case – TIME/CNN
- Selective Justice? – TIME
- Selective Prosecution – NYT
- The Mark of Rove – WSJ
- The Strange Case – NYT
- Leura Canary’s Stonewalling – Harper’s
- Testimony about DoJ Investigation – YouTube
- Comments on Jill Simpson’s Testimony – Legal Schnauzer
- Bush League Justice: Part 1 – MSNBC
- Bush League Justice: Part 2 – MSNBC
- Bush League Justice: Part 3 – MSNBC