Chasing The Great White Worm

by digby

Atrios mentions "misprison" of a felony today, a term I haven't heard since the Barbizon School of Former Prosecutors Drill Team blanketed the airwaves with learned commentary about presidential fellatio. (Those were the days, my friends...)

Atrios mentions it in terms of the telcom cover-up but it may also apply to this case, which Scott Horton at No Comment has been covering in depth:

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” remarked a nationally known print journalist in a conversation three weeks ago. “Everything I’ve been told by the convicted defendants checks out as the gospel truth. And everything I’m told by federal prosecutors who pushed the case turns out either to be an outrageous lie or at least a very serious distortion. And the local journalists who wrote the most about the case all behave like they’re accessories after the fact in a criminal investigation.”

Welcome to the Siegelman case.

It's a political thriller that reaches all the way to the White House and features our favorite white worm, Karl Rove in a starring role.

TIME adds to their ongoing investigations as well today with a report on what the Alabama whistleblower told the US Congress last week: has obtained an advanced copy of the sworn statement that Alabama GOP activist Dana Jill Simpson gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee

A Republican lawyer claims she was told that Karl Rove — while serving as President Bush's top political advisor — had intervened in the Justice Department's prosecution of Alabama’s most prominent Democrat. Longtime Alabama GOP activist Dana Jill Simpson first made the allegation in June, but has now provided new details in a lengthy sworn statement to the House Judiciary Committee. The Committee is expected to hold public hearings on the Alabama case next week as part of its investigation of possible political interference by the Bush Administration in the activities of the Department of Justice.

Simpson said in June that she heard a close associate of Rove say that the White House political adviser "had spoken with the Department of Justice" about "pursuing" Don Siegelman, a former Democratic governor of Alabama, with help from two of Alabama's U.S. attorneys. Siegelman was later indicted on 32 counts of corruption, convicted on seven of them, and is currently serving an 88 month sentence in Federal prison.

If Simpson's version of events is accurate, it would show direct political involvement by the White House in federal prosecutions — a charge leveled by Administration critics in connection with the U.S. attorney scandal that led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

This is purely coincidental, I'm sure

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a high-powered Washington lawyer to represent him in investigations of mismanagement of the Justice Department.

George Terwilliger, a white-collar crime defense attorney and the Justice Department's No. 2 in the early 1990s, last month was on the White House's short list to replace Gonzales.

Now he'll be Gonzales' defender as federal investigators look into allegations that the former attorney general lied to lawmakers and illegally allowed politics to influence hiring and firing at the Justice Department.

Steve Benen has more.