Whistleblower: Aide Reported On Siegelman Case To “Recused” U.S. Attorney “Every Day”

The New York Times has more details about the possible continued involvement of the U.S. Attorney in the prosecution of former Alabama Democratic governor Don Siegleman, even after she had formally recused herslef form ghe case because her husband was a GOP operative who had run the gubernatorial campaign of Siegelman’s opponent.

The paper reports allegations made in a sworn affidavit by a whistleblower in the office, Tamarah Grimes, about the involvement of U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. Time had reported similar claims earlier this month — in response to which Siegelman expressed outrage in an interview with TPMmuckraker.

Says the Times:

[I]n her complaint, the Justice Department employee, Tamarah T. Grimes, cited several instances suggesting Ms. Canary maintained a close watch on the case. Ms. Grimes said a legal aide in the office reported on Mr. Siegelman’s trial to Ms. Canary or her top deputy “every day, sometimes several times per day by telephone.” Once, she observed Ms. Canary “frantically pacing in the executive suite” after a courtroom blowup, “pleading with someone” to get on the phone to “tell Louis he has to control his temper.”

Ms. Grimes also disclosed an e-mail message written by Ms. Canary commenting on legal strategy in the case and suggesting to aides that Mr. Siegelman not be allowed to “comment on court activities in the media.” Ms. Grimes, who is also in an dispute with the department related to her allegations that the Siegelman prosecution team had harrassed her, cited the affidavit of a former legal aide in the Montgomery office, Elizabeth Jane Crooks, who wrote that “the morning that the trial started, the U.S. attorney herself carried food and beverage over to the courthouse to support the ‘Trial Team.’ “

The Times also reports that lawyers for Siegelman, whose appeal begins next month in Atlanta court, have made new filings based on Grimes’ claims.