The attorney for a Des Moines man who won commutation of his life prison sentence from President Bush confirms that the prisoner got help from some very politically-connected Iowans. Reed Prior will be released from prison in February after serving 12 years on a methamphetamine charge.
Former Governor Robert Ray, former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, plus the prosecutor and the judge who handled Prior’s case all asked President Bush to pardon Prior. But attorney Bob Holliday says a phone call from current Governor Chet Culver also helped put the Prior’s case before the out-going president.
"We had to talk to someone in the White House if we had any chance of success on this and Mari Culver, the governor’s wife since I’m a lawyer and she’s a lawyer I’ve known her for some time,"Holliday says, "and I thought perhaps that if Governor Culver could make a telephone call to the White House, we might have success in at least getting there."
Holliday briefed the first lady on Prior’s case and asked her to urge the governor to make the call, which he did. "I’ve met the governor a few times, but because she is a lawyer, I’ve known Mari (Culver) for years and knowing they supported this commutation, I called Mrs. Culver and asked her if she would ask her husband to make this call for us which he did and we were successful in getting entrance into the White House to discuss Reed’s case," Holliday says.
Fifty-seven-year-old Reed Prior is described by his supporters, including the Culvers, as a model prisoner who whipped his meth addiction and used his own advanced degree to help fellow inmates get their G-E-D’s.