Today’s Must Read

Got your popcorn? If it’s too early for that, a cup of coffee will do. Last night 60 Minutes finally aired its segment on the Don Siegelman case, and here it is, in all its 9-minute glory:

Ever since June of last year, the Siegelman case has, more than any other, been the prime example of selective prosecution in the Bush Justice Department, culminating in a House Judiciary Committee hearing last October. Siegelman, a popular Dem governor when prosecutors set their sights on him, is currently serving out his sentence for bribery charges.

60 Minutes‘ piece is an excellent distillation of the case. There’s Republican lawyer Jill Simpson’s recollection of a conference call where Karl Rove’s friend William Canary recalled talking to his buddy Karl about sicking the Justice Department on Siegelman, saying that his “girls would take care of him,” referring to U.S. attorney Leura Canary (his wife) and another U.S. attorney in the state. And there’s the Justice Department’s renewal of vigor after the first prosecution against Siegelman fell flat on its face.

But there was more, the most significant revelation being that prosecutors had coached their star witness to the point where he had to write his carefully recollected testimony over and over again to make sure he got it right. Such notes, 60 Minutes reports, should have been turned over to Siegelman’s defense attorneys. They were not.

And there seems to be a fitting capstone to the piece’s broadcast. At least one CBS affiliate in Alabama, Scott Horton and Larisa Alexandrovna report, went dark during the broadcast. Just went dark. The station claimed that there was a technical difficulty which lasted only for the segment on Siegelman (“NewsChannel 19 lost our program feed from CBS”). Boy, is that bad luck. But not to worry — they got the problem worked out and rebroadcast the segment that night at 10. During the Oscars.

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