House Panel Asks Jailed Ex-Gov. to Testify

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Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been asked to testify before Congress about possible political influence over his prosecution.

Siegelman, a Democrat, was convicted on corruption charges in 2006. But House Judiciary Committee leaders say his testimony could provide information about Justice Department practices under the Bush Administration.

The committee submitted the request to the Justice Department Thursday.

"The chairman... believes he would have a lot to add to the committee's investigation into selective prosecution," said Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the group.

Democrats began reviewing Siegelman's conviction after allegations of political meddling by the Bush administration.

Critics, including a group of former state attorneys general, called for an independent review of the case, saying that it raised numerous concerns.

Grant Woods, a former Republican attorney general, said the list of his colleagues has grown to about 55 signatures.

"It's really unprecedented to have that many people continuing to ask for an investigation," Woods said.

Testimony from Siegelman, he added, could force lawmakers and the public to see him as a human being instead of a partisan politician.

"I think if they see him live and in person the congressmen and congresswomen would be willing to take a new look at this," he said. "But I wouldn't hold my breath for the Justice Department to go along with it."

Siegelman's defense team said he has agreed to testify in May.

Source: Associated Press

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