GOP Lawyer Deposed on Alabama Case
By BEN EVANS
The Associated Press
Friday, September 14, 2007; 7:32 PM
WASHINGTON -- A Republican lawyer who says Karl Rove may have been involved in the prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman emerged without comment Friday from four hours of questioning at the House Judiciary Committee.
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.
"We answered their questions," Simpson's attorney Priscilla Duncan told reporters after the deposition, declining to elaborate.
Siegelman, elected governor in 1998, was convicted last year on federal bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud charges following a lengthy investigation. He recently began serving a prison sentence of more than seven years.
Siegelman was convicted along with former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy in a high-profile government corruption case. In the key charge, Siegelman was accused of appointing Scrushy to an influential hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery.
In an affidavit made public in May, Simpson said she heard a Republican operative during a 2002 telephone conference call say he had spoken with Rove, referred to in the document as "Karl," and had been assured the Justice Department was pursuing Siegelman.
As part of a broader investigation into political influence at the Justice Department, the Judiciary Committee recently asked the department to turn over its documents involving the case. More than forty former state attorneys general also have asked Congress to investigate.
In a letter to the committee last week, the Justice Department said it has not found any communications regarding Siegelman with the White House, members of Congress, or political party officials. The department denied the committee's request for internal documents, however, saying an appeal is pending in the case and that releasing internal communications about prosecutorial decisions would undermine the legal system.
The department _ and the career prosecutors who handled the case _ have insisted that politics played no role in the decisions to pursue the prosecution and have emphasized that he was convicted by a jury.
A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman said it could be weeks before the parties involved decide whether to release a transcript of Friday's interview, conducted by Democratic and Republican attorneys for the committee.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.