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In the two weeks since his release from prison pending an appeal, Siegelman has sharply increased the volume of his assertions that he was railroaded. He says that Karl Rove, who was a White House adviser, targeted him for prosecution to ensure he did not win reelection to the governor's office and displace a Republican there.
Siegelman is seizing on a theme that is newly popular with politically connected defendants: turning the tables on a Justice Department vulnerable to accusations of interference because of missteps last year under then-Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
Yet Siegelman has not petitioned the court to hear his allegations of political tampering, choosing instead to make them on television programs and in newspapers and magazines. He asserts that Rove, two Republican U.S. attorneys, the son of his successor as governor, career prosecutors and former leaders of the Justice Department's public integrity unit conspired to manufacture a case and thwart Siegelman's ambitions to return to the governor's mansion.