White House strategist Karl Rove has been markedly quiet on the subject of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D), despite being accused of orchestrating a political prosecution that now stands to land the former lawmaker in prison for 30 years.
A reporter from The Huntsville Times caught Rove on Thursday on a visit to the state with President Bush. The reporter asked Rove about the allegations made by a Republican lawyer in a sworn affidavit (available here). The lawyer, Dana Jill Simpson, claims that on a conference call in 2002, a GOP strategist said he and Rove spoke about having the Department of Justice investigate Siegelman purely to get him out of the way.
Rove’s response (with a smile) to such an explosive accusation:
“I know nothing about any phone call,” Rove said.
Then a White House press aide stepped up and said, “What he meant to say was that he has no comment.”
No one has accused of Rove of being involved in the call — just that his name was mentioned in it.
Siegelman was convicted last year of appointing a chief executive of a health care company, Richard Scrushy, to a hospital board in exchange for a $500,000 contribution to an education fund. Siegelman’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. The prosecution seeks a 30 year prison term.