It is my pleasure to interview Scott Horton once again. He is a lawyer and writer at Harpers magazine. He is an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Law, with an interest in international law and human rights. I talked to him about what he is doing recently and we spent a few minutes talking about Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke. Scott believes that the statements that Rush Limbaugh made may actually be libelous. Horton has written extensively on Don Siegelman’s ordeal. Don Siegelman is the former Democratic governor of Alabama. There are lots of bizarre issues surrounding Don Siegelman. He lost a very close election under questionable circumstances. He was indicted and convicted on some of the most nebulous pay to play charges. Both the judge and the prosecuting attorney general had significant conflicts of interest. Don Siegelman’s story was on 60 Minutes. He is currently petitioning the Supreme Court to take a look at his case.
Take a few minutes and listen to this fabulous interview. Enjoy. (I’d like to personally thank Scott Horton for taking time out of his busy day.)
U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Cebull, Montana’s chief federal judge, admitted this week he sent a racist email attacking President Obama and his mother from his courthouse chambers. Yesterday, the story took an even more serious turn.
The Judicial Council of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opened a misconduct review of Montana’s chief federal District Court judge for forwarding a racially charged email about President Obama from his courthouse computer.
Judge Richard F. Cebull asked for the review as calls mounted Thursday for his immediate resignation. Legal ethics experts predicted the incident would result in a public admonishment.
The judge also sent a letter to the president, saying, “I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded…. Please forgive me.”
The next question is whether this will be sufficient.
On Capitol Hill, Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called on Cebull to resign. Gonzalez, along with the chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, issued a joint statement condemning the judge for the incident.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chair of the CBC, added, “An apology alone is not acceptable.”
What’s more, Common Cause, which filed a formal complaint with the 9th Circuit, has called for Cebull’s ouster, and the Montana Human Rights Network has begun collecting signatures urging the judge to resign.
More later. Have a good Friday.
I’ve been slowly and steadily following the story of Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama. I think is important for all of us to understand the ins and outs of the story. If a governor can be so blatantly railroaded and jailed for doing what appears to be nothing, the rest of us are screwed. We depend on the courts and the wheels of justice to be on the side of the wrongfully accused. I’ve talked about Don Siegelman and his plight here, here and here. It appears that he’s trying to petition the Supreme Court to look into his case.
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has released data to support the fact that government spending is NOT out of control.
Women throughout the country are slowly but surely becoming irritated at the constant attack that conservatives have placed on them. It is critically important for everyone to understand that nothing that comes out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth falls out by accident. There are several shows by conservative right-wing host in which they talk extemporaneously and simply run their mouth. That is not Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh carefully crafts his shows. His shows are scripted. No matter whether you like them or not, he is a professional. He thought about what he was going to say. When he decided to attack Sandra Fluke, he did it on purpose. This is directly out of the Karl Rove playbook. Take a strength of your opponent, an attractive, young, smart, Georgetown law student, and use that strength against your opponent. Therefore, following the playbook, take a woman who represents what every American family would want out of their daughter (thoughtful, smart, in college and not on the street doing drugs) and turn that inside out. This is classic Karl Rove/Rush Limbaugh. Notice, there was no apology. Also note that several prominent Republicans/talking heads have defended the outrageous comments. President Obama has called Ms Fluke and offered his support. Ms Fluke was on Andrea Mitchell Reports earlier today:
I have written about Don Siegelman and his plight on several occasions – here and here. It may be the worst miscarriage of justice that I’ve seen of a prominent official — ever. This update comes from the Daily Kos:
Former governor of Alabama and political prisoner Don Siegelman has filed a motion (PDF) for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.
Here are the highlights:
ISSUE I. THE GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO PRODUCE EXCULPATORY AND IMPEACHING INFORMATION IN ITS POSSESSION AS TO KEY WITNESSES AND CORRECT FALSE OR MISLEADING TESTIMONY DURING TRIAL VIOLATED SIEGELMAN’S RIGHTS UNDER THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE FIFTH AMENDMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT FAILED TO COMPLY WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE JENCKS ACT.
The detailed allegations here are worse than the heading sounds. Siegelman accuses the government of shaping the testimony of a key witness.
Issue II: BECAUSE OF PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT IN THIS CASE, INCLUDING IMPROPER CONTACTS WITH JURORS, IMPROPER EX PARTE COMMUNICATION WITH THE COURT, AND IMPROPER CONDUCT IN PREPARING GOVERNMENT WITNESSES TO TESTIFY AT TRIAL AND FAILURE TO PROVIDE BRADY MATERIAL, SIEGELMAN WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO AN IMPARTIAL JURY.
Jury tampering as well as witness tampering. The House Judiciary Committee and a group of 75 former state attorneys general have both already complained about this to the U.S. Justice Department.
Issue III. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS AND THE EXISTENCE OF A SECRET INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ON THE AUTHENTICITY OF JUROR EMAILS, A CRITICAL MATERIAL FACT IN A MOTION THEN PENDING BEFORE THE COURT, VIOLATED SIEGELMAN’S SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO COUNSEL AND HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS. (more…)