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Don Siegelman is the only politician in Alabama history to hold all the state’s top constitutional offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Alabama’s first Catholic governor and the first “New South” progressive governor in the state’s post-civil rights era, and a staunch Democrat, Siegelman was a potential 2004 presidential candidate. His politics put him in the crosshairs of insurgent Republicans, both within the state and nationally. He narrowly lost a bid for reelection in 2002 when the vote total changed overnight after the polls had closed in a Republican county. However, Siegelman remained widely popular in Alabama and was given good odds of regaining the governor’s office in 2006. But as that campaign was getting underway, he was indicted ― wrongfully, according to scores of attorneys general from states across the nation ― convicted, and given a harsh prison sentence by a prosecutor and judge with links to GOP operative Karl Rove. The case was the subject of a CBS 60 Minutes report and a documentary film. Siegelman served five years in federal prison ― including long stretches in solitary confinement ― before being released on probation. Now 73, Siegelman has devoted himself to promoting prison and judicial reform.
Don Siegelman was the most successful Democratic politician in post-Wallace Alabama. His new book tells an amazing odyssey involving two federal prosecutions and a conviction forced by a corrupt judge. Following explosive disclosures of political manipulation by Republican whistleblowers, the constant that links many strands of the governor's political assassination is Karl Rove.
Scott Horton, Contributing Editor, Harper's Magazine