Simpson testifies Judge Fuller recruited to “hang” Siegelman

Jill Simpson Testifies to GOP conspiracy 

Whistle Blower Simpson risks everything to expose conspiracy

Earlier in the summer of 2007, an Alabama small town lawyer and lifelong republican operative, Jill Simpson, stepped up with a sworn affidavit that Rove was directing the Siegelman Prosecution in Alabama from the White House. The story of her sworn affidavit was published in the NYT and Time/CNN Online on June 1, 2007.

On September 14 of that year, Jill Simpson testified before the House Judiciary Committee that  the Alabama GOP conspired to defeat an unbeatable political foe, the popular Alabama democrat Don Siegelman, with a trumped up political prosecution complete with a hanging judge. Moreover, she claimed it was directed from the White House by Karl Rove.

Electrifying Testimony: Selective Political Prosecution from 2 Sources

Adam Zagorin wrote in the Time magazine article that Lanny Young confessed to supplying give-aways like tee shirts and coffee mugs, and signed blank checks  to William Pryor, Jeff Sessions, and Don Siegelman.

He writes “But the U.S. Attorney’s office chose to prosecute Siegelman in no small measure on the basis of Young’s word and chose not to investigate Sessions and Pryor — or their campaigns — on the basis of that same word.”  That FBI transcript of Young’s sworn testimony was hard evidence of selective prosecution.

Now, Simpson’s affidavit pointed the finger at Karl Rove. Rumors and innuendo swirled about Rove directing the Justice Department to prosecute political foes and let guilty political allies off the hook. Simpson’s testimony was an actual first hand witness account. She swore under threat of perjury that the selective and political prosecution of Don Siegelman was directed from the White House.

Electrifying Testimony: Hanging Judge Selected for Siegelman

In 2002, Bob Riley “beat” Don Siegelman in the Governor’s race. Believing that he had been unfairly beaten, Don Siegelman decided to run again for Governor against Riley. The Alabama GOP found out that Siegelman was planning another run at the Governor’s office and further, polls were showing that Don would win against Riley.

Jill Simpson swore that Rob Riley, the Alabama Governor’s son, told her he was concerned that his father might lose to Siegelman. She claims that Riley further stated that he had been assured that the Siegelman problem would be solved by another trial held during the political campaign. This trial was assured to get a conviction because the right judge had been secured, a judge who “hated” Siegelman, Judge Mark Everett Fuller. The younger Riley claimed Judge Fuller was selected to “hang” Siegelman.

Rob Riley: Jill Who?

When Rob Riley got wind of Simpson’s sworn testimonies, Riley claimed that she was lying. He said that he had not seen her in years and never tried cases with her. Furthermore, he stated that the phone call she referred to in her original affidavit never happened.

But that was not true, and Jill Simpson took boxes of evidence with her to back up the claims she was swearing to before the House Judiciary Committee.

The story of Rob Riley and Jill Simpson’s relationship

Rob and Jill went way back. They had known each other since college where they both attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Back in 1987 they ran against each other for Student Government President. Even though Rob beat Jill in the election, she continued to be friends with Rob, based on common history and a deep commitment to conservative politics. They even worked together on legal cases. During the Bush years, they organized a lean and mean gubernatorial campaign for Rob’s dad, Congressman Bob Riley to defeat Don Siegelman.

Jill threw herself into the campaign for Bob Riley’s primary, working on a shoestring budget, putting out signs and working her contacts. The hard work paid off when Congressman Riley beat the GOP favorite, Steve Wyndham, in the primary.

Enter Stage Right – Abramoff, Norquist and Reed

At that point, seeing Riley had a chance to beat Siegelman, the Beltway Lobbyist crowd entered the campaign. Abramoff brought his Indian Casino money, Norquist and Reed brought their shell organizations designed to launder the Casino money into the Governor’s race. They no longer needed Jill Simpson’s shoestring strategies, because the campaign did not need to raise a penny since all the money they needed was provided by Abramoff’s team. But they did continue to call on her for help with various projects.

This brings us full circle to the famous phone conference in the affidavit. One of those projects involved a phone meeting with Rob Riley and other key GOP kingmakers. It was during this phone call that  she heard the conversation where Canary assured Rob Riley that if Siegelman ran again for Governor, “his girls’ would take care of Siegelman” and “Karl’s talked to Justice.”

In one of the conversations she had with Rob Riley he said that their campaign team had found a “hanging judge” to convict Siegelman. From here on out, the tricks got dirtier and Jill began to get uncomfortable with the work she was doing for Riley’s campaign.

The Price of Whistleblowing

Simpson said she paid a high price to be able to live with a clear conscience. She abandoned party loyalty to serve the law and found that the very republicans she helped to elect turned their backs on her. Her legal business dried up. Her house was burned and her car run off the road. The local press represented her as a liar. Her family suffered from the backlash too.

“But I’ve done it, now,” she says. “And I will take whatever consequences that may come from it, because it was the right thing to do. I just couldn’t walk away from the fact–and there’s no doubt about it–it was a political persecution.”

“I still believe that justice will always prevail in the end,” Ms. Simpson said. “Whether it prevails in time for Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy to avoid going to jail, we will see. But in the end, justice will always prevail. I really believe that.” 


Image Attribution: Kok Leng Yeo of Singapore


07.19.07 The Locust Fork News Journal
Justice Off the Tracks in Alabama
by Glynn Wilson

Fuller has been a Republican activist since his days . . . at the University of Alabama in the 1980s, including a stint on the Republican Executive Committee. He worked against Siegelman’s election in past races. . . [he was] given a lifetime appointment as the chief federal judge in Montgomery by President Bush in 2002 — just in time to assign himself the Siegelman case.

07.20.07 The Locust Fork News Journal
How Ms. Simpson Discovered A Corrupt Judge
by Glynn Wilson

After Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted, she remembered something Rob Riley had told her in a meeting in Birmingham in 2005. Riley had indicated after the first trial against Siegelman was lost that they had “found another judge” in Montgomery who might very well be able to put through a successful conviction.


. . . .And the few agreements that there are, basically . . . .You’ll have an opportunity to review the transcript that’s being made and correct any errors in it, and you’ll receive a copy of that transcript when it’s final.

We all agree to hold the transcript confidential and it will only be released by a decision by Chairman Conyers . . . .

09.15.07 USA TODAY
GOP lawyer deposed on Alabama case
by Ben Evans, for AP

Jill Simpson was called to the Capitol to provide sworn testimony about her claim that she heard discussions in 2002 suggesting that Rove, a former top White House political adviser, may have played a role in the corruption case against Siegelman. At the time of the alleged conversation, Simpson was a campaign worker for Republican Gov. Bob Riley, who defeated Siegelman in that year’s gubernatorial race.

10.08.07 The Locust Fork News-Journal
Democrats Call for Sessions’ Recusal in Siegelman Investigation
by Glynn Wilson

“The Senator’s [Sessions] public statement discouraging Congress from looking into the Siegelman case was self-serving and could be perceived as an attempt to impede discovery . . . . In the interest of justice, impartiality, and to remove any hint that Senator Sessions’ service at a congressional hearing could taint the outcome, I publicly call for him to make a formal recusal from participation in these matters before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Lawyer: Siegelman promised prosecution would end with 2002 election concession
by Brett Blackledge and Mary Oorndorff

A Rainsville lawyer told congressional investigators last month that former Gov. Don Siegelman conceded his 2002 election after Alabama Republicans promised to end a federal investigation of his administration.

10.10.07 Harper’s Online
More from the ‘Bama Press
by  Scott Horton

. . . colleagues [on the House Judiciary Committee] had taken a step to attempt to pre-empt the hearings that the Committee had originally scheduled for Thursday (now postponed), at which the Siegelman prosecution will appear center stage. They were . . . going to use a time-honored technique: the interview transcripts would be leaked to a reporter “who can be trusted to get our message across.” 

The Locust Fork News-Journal 10.10.07
House Judiciary Committee Releases Simpson Transcript
by  Glynn Wilson

North Alabama attorney and GOP whistleblower Jill Simpson’s testimony expands on her sworn affidavit from May of this year. In the affidavit and in her statements to Congress, she documents the involvement of White House and Bush Justice Department officials in scheming to prosecute former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to keep him from winning future elections.

At the heart of this scheme lies Alabama Governor Bob Riley’s son Rob Riley, who told her in several conversations about a plan to recruit a Republican federal judge to handle the case against Siegelman.

Times Daily 10.10.07
Governor’s son says he’ll refute lawyer’s testimony
by Dana Beyerle

The House Judiciary Committee is conducting a hearing on allegations that the Republican Justice Department targeted Democrats.

Simpson said she believes the targeting occurred after Alabama Republicans got involved, including Rob Riley, Former Democratic Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts and Business Council of Alabama President William Canary, whose wife, Leura Garrett Canary, is the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery.

Simpson said they discussed it in a phone call. Simpson said William Canary said he’d get White House insider Karl Rove to help.

Canary denied Simpson’s version of events and Rob Riley challenged Simpson’s version.

Legal Schnauzer 10.10.07
Exposing the GOP Slime Machine
by  Roger Shuler

Part of the transcript of Dana Jill Simpson’s testimony before Congressional lawyers was leaked yesterday, and it is a historic document. . . .[The Birmingham News]  never explain how they obtained an advance copy of the transcript.

. . . An effort naturally is under way to discredit Simpson. Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork World News & Journal reports that the entire transcript was supposed to be released today. But portions of it were leaked by Republican committee members to certain news organizations, evidently in an effort to discredit Simpson. The leak violated terms of an agreement Simpson had with the committee.

10.11.07 New York Times
Partisanship Accusation Expanded in Alabama
by Philip Shenon

The son of Alabama’s current Republican governor boasted that a Republican judge would “hang Don Siegelman,” a former Democratic governor of Alabama, for partisan reasons, according to a deposition by a Republican lawyer from Alabama.

Justice: The Rovian Touch
by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna,
Matt Corley, Ali Frick, and Jeremy Richmond (Contact Us)

This week, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) released the transcript from Simpson’s sworn testimony before the committee, further implicating Rove. Simpson told investigators that during Bob Riley’s 2005 campaign against Siegelman, Rob Riley — the governor’s son who also had ties to Rove — “told her that Rove had intervened again, this time going directly to the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice” to bring “corruption charges” against Siegelman. Rove allegedly assured the prosecution that Siegelman would face Mark Fuller, an Alabama federal judge who reportedly “hated” Siegelman.

In her own words: Jill Simpson interview excerpts
by Bob Sims

Simpson states again that her recollection of the phone call’s reference to Rove was done as factually as possible, and that did allow for two interpretations of the reference to Rove in the phone call. She reiterated that she personally believed it meant Rove orchestrated the Siegelman prosecution, but the statement made on the phone about Rove could be understood different ways.

10.12.07 Legal Schnauzer
Attacking Jill Simpson
by Roger Shuler

Gotcha! the News seems to be saying. But wait. Several paragraphs later we learn this:

“Simpson testified that she asked Aaron to help her write her affidavit. He gave her a draft that she didn’t like, she said, so she sat down with her secretary to write her own.”

Let’s repeat, according to the News itself, “she sat down . . . to write her own.” In other words, she did it herself, just like she said all along.

10.24.07 The Nation
A Whistleblower’s Tale
by  Glynn Wilson

. . . .Four months after testifying in that affidavit, Simpson went to Washington and gave a sworn deposition to the House Judiciary Committee in which she shared further details about the call, including discussion of a plan to keep Siegelman out of future elections for governor–by threatening him with legal action if he ever ran again.

At Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on three cases of selective prosecution involving the Bush Justice Department, Siegelman’s conviction and Simpson’s evidence were center stage.

08.20.09 OpEdNews
My Response to the article “Closing in on Rove”
by Dana Jill Simpson

Karl also states in his article, “I also understand that Mr. Siegelman and Ms. Simpson refused to cooperate with the Justice Department’s review of his claim of political persecution, while I willingly gave sworn testimony”.

It was announced on May 15, 2009, that Mr. Rove was subpoenaed to testify by Nora Dannehy of the DOJ about the firing of the nine attorneys in a criminal matter. I would hardly call that willingly giving sworn testimony.

Further, he pointedly refused to agree to give sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee this summer and did not take a sworn oath before chatting with the House Judiciary lawyers that questioned him.

I might add: I gladly and freely gave sworn testimony. Mr. Rove however has willfully misled the public in this article to think that I have refused to give sworn testimony to the DOJ in the case in which he was subpoenaed to testify.



About Friends of Siegelman

Friends of Siegleman is a group of volunteers who are composed of family, friends, and colleagues of the former Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman. We believe that he was unjustly politically prosecuted.