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

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


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.rove1.gi.jpg caption="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. jaci in oregon

    they'd better attach the creep to a lie detector machine cuz this bloated loser lies as much as condi, rummy, darth vader, and the shrub!

    good luck trying to get the truth from this POS!!!!!!!

    for the rest of his miserable bloated life rove MUST BE followed and watched, this guy cant be trusted as far as anyone can throw him (which is NOT AT ALL).

    April 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Katie, Madisonville, TN

    Rove reminds me of those sleazy types that Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre played in film noirs from the forties. Those guys generally got what was coming to them in the movies. I doubt very seriously that Rove will, though. Like Vince from Phoenix, above, I'm waiting for the first WH squawk of "executive privilege."

    April 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. jaci in oregon

    love huckabee, are you kidding about bush and ethics? and if not, what ethics might those be cuz 80% of americans can see plain as day that he has NONE!!!!!

    rove is the brains, bush is the idiot puppet! both are rotten to the core

    April 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Ian

    Hopefully if he is sentenced to any time in prison, it's done after December 31st!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Bob Stephens

    Oh..Oh.. Karl Rove is in trouble now.. This is one jam that Bush won't be able to bail him out of.... Oh well, every dog has their day.....

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. GARY

    I know that the Bush will claim executive privlege. Rove will never appear.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. jesse sturkens

    why is it,the news media not being fair? about the way your're reporting the news about this election.last night proved my point.for a half an hour it was about putting sen.Obama on the defense which i thought was so unfair.and when he wouldn't bite on sen.clinton lie's she has told,then you want to say he is weak,well the i see it you show strenth when you rise above trash when it's thrown at you that just what sen.Obama did.but all of you want to put a spin on and make it look like his weak.sorry that dog wantn't hunt.cnn.fox.need to take a hike and let this election run it's course.you notice i didn't mention msnbc. they kieth Oberman i know miss spelled his name but he got it right you guys need to take notes.starting today

    April 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. lovable liberal

    "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."

    People who still believe what Republicans say are slow learners.

    April 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Rove is innocent until proven guilty, however if proven guilty during the Bush administration, Bush will pardon him. Bush and Cheney will never face their crimes. Alberta Gonzales is doing his time, nobody wants to hire him.

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |

    What a slimy reversal, he initially claimed that he had no problem testifying and now its up to the White House. THE WORST

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Brad

    You voted for bush because of ethics? Is that a joke?

    They should hang this guy right next to Chenay.

    April 17, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. jimmy vekmen

    the truth from Rove in Congress: UNDER OATH.

    April 17, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Jeremy

    YES YES YES! Someone will go to jail some day for perjury.

    April 17, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. marylee wagerman atlanta,ga

    THIS IS BAD NEWS FOR KARL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. DJW

    President Bush will pardon him!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. kevin from alaska

    It's a shame this is what Rove is being called in to testify about.

    What about Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004?

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Rob Mack

    Love Huckabee I guess you did not do your homework about W otherwise you would have never voted for him. WAKE UP!!! Look into McCains record before you make another mistake. Start with the Keating 5 and ending with the fact that McCain just violated his own ethics bill McCain Finegold. Do the reasearch!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Kira


    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. F. Lynn

    Wow, this should be good. He is the king of lies and obvescation. His buddy got the job too! Now this will be political theatre!

    April 17, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. King

    Karl Rove makes OJ Simpson look like Ghandi

    April 17, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Doc - NY, NY

    This guy is the devil. I would love to see him as some big angry prisoner's girlfriend in jail.

    April 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Utah Teacher

    Boss Hogg?

    This guy doesn't seem to be suffering from the recession.
    Gluttony? Yes.

    Wallow in your filth, piggy pig pig.

    April 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Steve in DC

    Rove....the bell tolls for thee!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. aliou salam, Jacksonville FL

    what is taking so long for the democrats to impeach the bush administration?

    Karl rove should be in jail for his part in the war in irak and the torture of prisoners.

    April 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. Terry, Dallas Texas

    He won't testify. The White House will claim that he is exempt for whatever reason and also tell him to ignore the summons if need be. The worst thing that can happen is that Bush pardons him prior to leaving office if he ends up looking at some kind of jail time that may result one way or the other. And if anyone doubts for a second that Mr. Kibby will recieve a pardon in January think again.

    April 17, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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