A new round of WikiLeaks documents released Tuesday reveal Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta reached out to White House officials advocating for the release of imprisoned former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on multiple occasions.
The Democratic Governor of Alabama from 1999 until 2003, Siegelman was convicted by a federal jury for the bribery of federal funds in 2006 on allegations that he sold a seat on a hospital regulatory board to former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy in exchange for $500,000 in donations to his unsuccessful 1999 campaign to get Alabama voters to approve a state lottery. He was also convicted of obstruction of justice.
However, advocates for Siegelman believe he was part of a political hit-job concocted by the Bush White House and Karl Rove.
According to the series of emails released last month, Podesta first heard about Siegelman in a July 2014 email from professor Robin Metz of Knox College, Podesta’s alma mater.
“This whole affair, thanks to Rove and the Bush thugs, is an outrage, a travesty, and a dangerous miscarriage of justice,” Metz wrote.
It’s unclear of whether or not Podesta took any action on behalf of Siegelman at the time, but a June 2015 message from Jack Knox, whom, according to the email, Podesta had met while running the promenade along the East River in New York City — prompted him to act.
“It would be timely to issue a pardon before the accumulation of evidence of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct explodes under the Obama administration,” wrote Knox. “The grotesque railroading of a Progressive and good man who Rove could not legitimately defeat at the polls is clearly a scandalous black mark in the history of American justice. Better to rectify it before it’s too late.”
Podesta then forwarded the email to White House Counsel under President Barack Obama, Neil Eggleston.
“This is the random shit that happens to me running in NYC,”Podesta said in the correspondence. “You looking at the Siegelman case.”
Then, in January 2016, Podesta received another email from Knox informing him the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from “America #1 political prisoner” Siegelman, making a presidential pardon his last hope to reduce his sentence.
Podesta again forwarded the email along to Eggleston, writing, “Putting back on your screen.”
Podesta efforts may have been in vain, as Siegelman, now 70, has yet to be pardoned. He has been serving his 6½ year sentence at a Louisiana prison camp since his conviction, and is scheduled to be released in August 2017.