This letter written by Michael Taylor was published January 22, 2017 by USA Today.
Letter to the editor:
USA TODAY’s editorial, “Jeff Sessions and Martin Luther King,” dissing the civil rights record of Sen. Jeff Sessions is disturbingly wrong-headed. As a U.S. senator, an attorney general of Alabama and a former federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney, Sessions has championed civil rights for all. We are talking about a man who helped break the back of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.
To claim that Sessions prosecuted three black civil rights activists for “helping African Americans to vote” is totally false. As the Justice Department indictment makes clear, the 1985 Perry County case aimed to stop voter fraud and the casting of “false, fictitious, spurious and fraudulently altered absentee ballots,” not voter assistance efforts. Black voters and candidates had called federal authorities because they said the defendants were stealing their absentee ballots, crossing out the names of the candidates the voters had chosen, and marking candidates supported by the defendants.
Craig Donsanto, the veteran prosecutor who supervised the case, recently told me that “no federal prosecutor, faced with the evidence seen by the grand jury, would have failed” to prosecute. While a jury found the defendants not guilty, Donsanto says it was a clear case of jury nullification because “the evidence in the case was overwhelming.” Moreover, even the son of one of the defendants, Albert Turner Jr., has said that Sessions simply did what any prosecutor would have done based on the evidence that was presented to his office.
Your editorial did a disservice an honorable man and to your readers.
Sen. Sessions is an honorable man who would never disparage minorities. I have followed his career and found his character to be the best a man can offer. His commitment to the American people if profound!
— Michael Taylor