Son of jailed former governor files lawsuit to obtain government information

Published: Jan. 19, 2016 at 7:18 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2016 at 7:18 PM CST
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ALABAMA (WAFF) - The son of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is suing the Office of Professional Responsibility, a branch of the United States Department of Justice.

Siegelman is serving a federal sentence for bribery and conspiracy at Oakdale Prison in Louisiana.

Siegelman's son, Joseph Siegelman, is suing for records obtained during the Office of Professional Responsibility's, or OPR's, investigation into Siegelman's prosecution and conviction. The OPR investigates Department of Justice attorneys accused of professional misconduct.

The filing states that the OPR opened an investigation after multiple national media outlets reported on the Siegelman case and raised questions about the prosecution. These outlets reported prosecutors placed undue pressure on witnesses, communicated with the jury, communicated privately with the judge, and withheld evidence from the defense.

The lawsuit also notes an article written by the Project On Governmental Oversight. That article mentioned a letter summarizing the OPR investigation. That letter reportedly includes admissions from "several" officials who acted improperly.

In June 2015, Joseph Siegelman filed a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA,  request for the OPR findings. The OPR denied that request based on an exemption for inter- or intra- agency memos or letters, an exemption for personal privacy interests, and an exemption for records compiled for law enforcement.

Joseph Siegelman says the OPR is wrong in their reasoning and is illegally withholding the information. He has requested a trial before a federal jury.

Don Siegelman's release date is set for August 8, 2017.

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