Prosecution Timeline

Timeline: The prosecution of Don Siegelman


by Muriel Kane and Larisa Alexandrovna Published: Monday November 26, 2007 The Siegelman Timeline first appeared in Rawstory


The 1980’s
  • 1979 to 1987  
    Siegelman served as Alabama’s Secretary of State
  • 1987 to 1991  
    Siegelman served as Alabama’s Attorney General
The 1990’s
  • 1994
    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.
  • Texas
    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
  • Alabama
    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.


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.