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Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation

Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation

by Don Siegelman


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In a searing political memoir, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman explodes the myth of an impartial U.S. justice system. He should know. Arguably the most successful and promising politician in modern Alabama history, his three-decade career in public service ran afoul of Republican opponents who used the federal judicial system to take him out of contention in Alabama and nationally. Siegelman ultimately was sentenced to 88 months in federal prison and served five years, with long stretches in solitary confinement during which he was a literal political prisoner, cut off from interviews and outside contact. Stealing Our Democracy reveals how Siegelman’s enemies — including politicized prosecutors and a corrupt judge — stripped him of his freedom, his career, and his law license, and deprived him of his family and friends. His is an intensely personal account of how our system can fail and be abused for political greed. And if it could happen to him, he writes, it can happen to any of us, particularly in an era when Donald Trump is abusing his power and using the Department of Justice as a political weapon to defend himself and to destroy those who oppose him. Siegelman draws on his experience as a public servant and an inmate to show why the nation’s prisons must be reformed along with our system of indictment, prosecution, and sentencing. Finally, Stealing Our Democracy offers a blueprint for voters in 2020 of what must be done to preserve democracy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588384294
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Prologue xvii

Acknowledgments xxii

1 Judgment Day 3

2 Locked Away 7

3 Early Years, Values Learned 8

4 Public School Education 13

5 College, A Political Education 18

6 Working for Peace 21

7 Back to Bama 27

8 Shaking Things up as Secretary of State 32

9 A Life-Changing Tragedy 35

10 Baby Girl Sets Priorities 41

11 Using Power for Public Good 43

12 A Race to the Top 45

13 Close Encounters with Rove and Canary 50

14 Beating Rove, Canary, and Abramoff 52

15 Clinton, George W. Bush, and Al Gore 53

16 My Inauguration and GOP Consternation 55

17 Taking on Another Fight 58

18 A Bribe or Political Contribution? 61

19 Christian Coalition Takes Casino Cash 63

20 Making Changes 65

21 A Motorcycle Morphs into Crime 70

22 Terrorists Attack America 73

23 Roves Forces & Friends Plan Attack 74

24 Dodging an NRA Bullet 76

25 Rove Pulls Out His Big Gun 76

26 Roves Fingerprints on Stolen Election 77

27 Jeff Sessions Rewards Ballot Thief 79

28 Rove and Pryor at the Bush White House 80

29 Rove Republicans Suck Wind 81

30 It Begins! A Political Prosecution 83

31 The First Indictment 85

32 Prosecutors' Misconduct 87

33 Back to Campaigning 90

34 A Scramble for a Second Indictment 91

35 A Vengeful Judge with a Grudge 93

36 The Tortuous Trial 94

37 The Judge Closes in on Us 95

38 Pressure to Withdraw from the Race 100

39 Witness Lies 102

40 Sessions and Pryor Accused of Crimes 107

41 Judge Instructs Jury for Conviction 111

42 Judge Roy Moore 114

43 The Judge and Jury's Verdict 115

44 Congress to the Rescue 117

45 Juror Misconduct Exposed 119

46 More Juror Misconduct 121

47 First Republican Whistleblower 123

48 Preparing to Be Sentenced 126

49 My Sentencing Circus 127

50 Prison, a Political Gag Order 130

51 Judge Fuller's Conflicts Exposed 133

52 Working for Freedom 134

53 Prison Life in Louisiana 139

54 Waiting in Prison 141

55 National Media and Congress 142

56 CBS 60 Minutes Moves Mountains 145

57 Going Home 148

58 Meeting My Warriors 153

59 DOJ's One-Sided Investigation 155

60 Rove Prosecutors Attack Doyle 160

61 Barack Hussein Obama Elected 164

62 Legal Appeal Begins 168

63 The Judge Gets His Pound of Flesh 173

64 Thirty Days of Freedom to Fight 175

65 A 'Hail Mary' Pardon Pass 177

66 Back to Prison 179

67 Prison … Again 183

68 From Solitary Confinement to Camp 185

69 White House Counsel as My Advocate 188

70 Inmate Stories 189

71 Prison Guard Cruelty, Saving Leroy 191

72 Saving Inmate Garcia 194

73 Government Witness Confesses Lies 197

74 My Judge's Sex, Drugs, Domestic Violence 198

75 Greg Craig's Quest for Justice 200

76 My Prison Administrative Assistant 205

77 Warning Senators Menendez & Shelby 206

78 Congress Talks of Justice Reform 208

79 Freedom of Speech Suspended 211

80 Trump: Southern White Boy's Candidate 217

81 My End Date Approaches 220

82 Going Home 225

83 In Search of Justice 230

Epilogue 237

Notes 242

Legal Notes 244

Index 271

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