Did Jill Simpson Swear that Karl Rove Was Behind the Prosecution of Don Siegelman? The L.A. Times Says Yes — So What Do *You* Think the Truth Is??
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee inquires into allegations that Karl Rove was the driving force behind the corruption prosecution of Don Siegelman, the former Democrat Governor of Alabama. To hear leftists tell it, a Republican lawyer signed an affidavit in June that unequivocally alleged that Rove was behind the prosecution. The L.A. Times made this claim in June:
Just this month, a Republican lawyer signed a sworn statement that she had heard five years ago that Rove was preparing to politically neutralize the popular Siegelman.
. . . .
This month another Republican activist, lawyer Dana Jill Simpson of Rainsville, Ala., filed a sworn statement saying that she was on a Republican campaign conference call in 2002 when she heard Bill Canary tell other campaign workers not to worry about Siegelman because Canary’s “girls” and “Karl” would make sure the Justice Department pursued the Democrat so he was not a political threat in the future.
You can read the affidavit here. The relevant passage is on page three, and reads as follows:
That language doesn’t say that Rove was behind the investigation. It could also be interpreted as a report that Rove had simply heard that the investigation into Siegelman had commenced.
You don’t believe me? Then maybe you’ll believe Jill Simpson, who executed the affidavit — because she says the same thing:
An affidavit cited as proof that White House strategist Karl Rove helped arrange the Justice Department prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman doesn’t actually say Rove was behind the investigation, the lawyer who wrote it said. But that hasn’t stopped others from using the affidavit to demand a congressional hearing.
Jill Simpson, the Republican Rainsville lawyer who wrote the affidavit, said in an interview that she is not responsible for how others interpret her sworn statement. She said she tried to accurately represent a conference call she heard in which Rove’s name came up, and she said no one definitively said in that call that Rove arranged for Siegelman’s investigation.
It’s not clear if Rove was being identified in the call as the person behind the investigation or as someone who heard Siegelman already was under investigation, Simpson said.
“You can read it both ways,” Simpson said in the interview Friday. “I did it as best I could to factually write it down as exactly as to what was said. And there’s two interpretations to it, there’s no doubt about that.”
It’s true, as the article later says, that Simpson “personally believes” that Rove “had a role in the federal investigation of Siegelman.” (All emphasis mine.) She also believes Siegelman, who was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt of bribery by a unanimous jury, was “politically persecuted.” She recently reiterated to the Judicary Committee in an interview (summarized here) that “[w]hat I understood, or what I believed Mr. Canary to be saying” was that Rove was behind the prosecution.
But even she admits that her sworn affidavit doesn’t claim that she unequivocally heard that Rove was behind the prosecution.
As you read reports of Tuesday’s hearings, keep that in mind.