Monday, March 31, 2008

Davis warns against Siegelman testifying to Congress

WASHINGTON - Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham warned House Democrats Monday against calling Don Siegelman to testify before Congress, saying Republicans would use the occasion to try to embarrass the former Alabama governor. In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., Davis said it would be "extremely unwise" to open Siegelman up to fresh attacks and could jeopardize his appeal.

Davis said the appearance would probably turn into a partisan debate over Siegelman's guilt or innocence and shift attention from the committee's true goal of determining whether Republican politics influenced his prosecution on corruption charges. "I fear that we will undermine what we value most if we divert this committee into a fact-finding quest into what Don Siegelman did or did not do," Davis wrote.

A former federal prosecutor, Davis is a member of the Judiciary Committee who has worked closely with Conyers and other Democrats to focus attention on Siegelman's case. But Davis said he was not told of the committee's decision last week to seek Siegelman's testimony and would have advised against it, even before the former governor was released from prison Friday while he appeals his case.

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