April 17th, 2008
07:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Rove asked to testify over ex-Alabama governor's prosecution

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Rove left the White House in 2007.
Rove left the White House in 2007.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A House committee Thursday asked former White House political adviser Karl Rove to testify about allegations that Bush administration officials pushed for federal prosecutions of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and other Democrats.

House Judiciary Committee leaders said it is "imperative" that Rove answer allegations that he pressed the Justice Department to investigate Siegelman, a Democrat who when indicted was preparing a rematch against Alabama's Republican governor in 2006.

"We look forward to scheduling an early date for your voluntary appearance," the committee's Democratic leaders wrote in a letter released Thursday.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said Thursday that President Bush's onetime political mastermind "absolutely denies he was in any way involved in the decision to prosecute Don Siegelman." Luskin said he has had no direct communication the the Judiciary Committee's staff or its chairman, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, and said the White House would have to decide whether Rove will be able to testify.

The probe grew out of the administration's controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006. The White House has invoked executive privilege to keep Rove from testifying to Congress in that case.

Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison in 2007 after his conviction on bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and mail fraud charges. Prosecutors accused him of running a "pay-for-play" scheme in which he exchanged official acts and influence for cash, property and services while serving as Alabama's governor from 1999 to 2003.

A federal appeals court ordered Siegelman released on bond in March, and he is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee in May as part of an investigation into allegations that the Bush administration tried to influence the prosecutions of political opponents.

A Thursday report by the committee's Democratic staff recounted what it said is "extensive evidence" that Siegelman's prosecution "was directed or promoted by Washington officials."

And it cited three other cases - including that of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, coroner Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist and an outspoken Democrat. Wecht was charged with 84 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and theft in 2006, but the case was declared a mistrial earlier this month.

Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee's ranking Republican, called the staff report a rehash of "sensational allegations from unreliable witnesses and so-called academic studies." He said the Republican minority is still reviewing the document.

"Unfortunately, House Democrats are so intent on slandering the Bush administration that they willingly accept outlandish claims while questioning the honest work of career federal prosecutors," Smith, R-Texas, said in a written statement. "It may come as a surprise to some Democrats, but even Democratic office holders who have committed crimes must be held accountable.


Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    This is the best news of the whole year go get this guy once anf for all!

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. CHERYL FOR HILLARY

    ROVE IS A CROOK LIKE HILLARY MY GODDESS.

    HILLARY 08

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Kaseam Ali, Philly, PA

    Karl Rove looks like the Sheriff from the movie "Porky's"

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Excellence

    "What goes around comes around!". Like his boss, Rove shows no regard for the law. Maybe, he will understand now.

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Blake

    Does this guy look honest? Look at him in this picture. Karl Roooooooooovvvveee. His name sounds so ominous. I know this is not an intelectual statment, but sometimes you have to go with your feelings. This guy, Karl Rove, gives me the willies.

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. jon

    i remember hearing about this case on 60 minutes and was stunned that this guy was sentenced to 7 years for such a weak case against him. it is another clear-cut example of the bush administration's abuse of power, that has occurred since day one. I only hope history looks upon bush and his cronies the way the rightfully should...as the most politically repressive, corrupt, and abusive administration in the history of this country.

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Obama Supporter

    It will be the incarnation of EVIL on the stand.

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. pretzelONEgeorgebushZERO

    FINALLY!! we will get the truth from TurdBlossom!! oopppssss sorry I was in fantasy land. Same ****, different day. Go away now, Karl. You're worthless.

    April 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. rezagui1@hotmail.com

    Republican corruption. Say it isn't so.

    April 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Jon, PA

    Anyone surprised by this? Go on....anyone?

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. LD

    Karl you're very and very ugly wthis kind of politics. PLsease keep being ugly. This really looks like you.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Trollmaster

    Rove will run from this as fast as Bush and Cheney ran from Vietnam.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. SayNoToHillaryBillaryCheslaryClintrous

    About time this guy is the most sick and ill mind in the whole planet. Democrats do what ever you have to get this guy behind bars.

    April 17, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Tanya K

    I was born, raised, and live in Alabama. I do not believe the allegations to be true. Anything Karl Rove has to do with is more than likely corrupt.

    April 17, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. AZM

    It amazes me how much we enjoy spending tax dollars on lawyers that will find nothing in the process...
    How much was spent on Libby? And nothing (other than Libby's reputation) came out of it!

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. Vince - Phoenix

    anyone else smell another plea of executive privilege??

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Nora

    Hmm Maybe he will keep his mouth shut about the campaign because he will be tied up on other issues. He should be tried and stoned for treason.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Stacy Clarks, TX

    THIS GUY IS A SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE WORST KIND!!!!!!!

    HE HAD GUILT WRITTEN ALL OVER HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Obama will be President

    Rove is getting fatter by the hour.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. john

    I heard Mr Siegelman's interview after he was released from jail. I am convinced that he is telling the truth and that Mr Rove has much to account for under oath. I would be fearful if I were in the Republican side of the aisle and continued to whine about unnecessary Democratic investigations. This is why we elected a Democratic majority and why the trend will continue until we finish flushing out all the Enablers of this country's worse administration, ever.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Andy Stein

    I'm not sure what to make of the allegations, but I just wanted to go on record as saying I think Karl Rove is an evil-doer. That's right, an evil-doer!

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Robert S., New Orleans, Louisiana

    I wonder if Rove will ever be held accountable for any of his ruthless tactices. Or Bush. Or Cheney.

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. D.Kimbro OHIO

    I would like to see him testify, however the man is a pathological liar. Good luck trying to get the truth out of his mouth. Maybe they can "water-board" him???

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. marcus

    FINALLY thats whats im talking about

    GET EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. James, SC

    Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee's ranking Republican, called the staff report a rehash of "sensational allegations from unreliable witnesses and so-called academic studies."

    Need I say more?

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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