Former Ala. Gov. Don Siegelman was found guilty in August on counts of bribery. The facts of his case are widely disputed, but one isn't: he repotted to jail today to serve a 6 1/2 year term. He was in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention to try to rally support, mostly from President Obama, for his freedom. Of course politicians avoided him with a 10-foot pole. But politics aside, how does a former noted politician feel right before going to prison?
Did you come to the Democratic National Convention to get attention?
We’re not trying to do that. In fact, if you were President Obama I wouldn’t even bring this up, I would be talking to him about political strategy to try and help him win his reelection.
So why did you come?
I am going to prison. After that my voice will be silenced, and I won’t be able to speak out. I came to the convention to say hello to friends so they can remember what has happened to me and feel some of the pain and injustice. Through that I’m telling them they’ll have to be my voice after I’m gone. They know the only way I can get out of prison at this point is for President Obama to issue a pardon or commutation after the reelection. I think Obama is a compassionate person who understands the injustice of our legal system and has a feeling for doing the right thing. So when he is freed from the concerns of reelection and able to think about thing to set right I hope I am on his list.
You’ve already been incarcerated some.
I was handcuffed, shackled and taken to the basement of the maximum security prison in Atlanta after midnight on June 29, 2007. After three weeks I was flown to another facility, where I spent another eight months.
What will you do in prison?
When you’re in prison your focus narrows to your own survival and the daily needs of trying to find something to eat with protein in it and just trying to avoid trouble with other people. You’re in survival mode and can’t think about the outside world.