Siegelman, Scrushy Guilty of Bribery

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy were found guilty of bribery yesterday afternoon.

A federal jury convicted former Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy Thursday on corruption charges alleging that Scrushy bought a seat on a state board with $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman’s lottery campaign.

The decision was the culmination of a five-year investigation that delved into the nooks and crannies of Siegelman’s administration. The verdict also marked a dark chapter in the careers of Alabama’s one-time shining stars of politics and business and helped derail Siegelman’s plans for a political comeback.

The jury convicted Siegelman on seven of the 32 charges against him – bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and four counts of honest services mail fraud. Scrushy was convicted on all six charges against him – bribery, conspiracy and four counts of honest services mail fraud. The jury acquitted the two other defendants in the case, Siegelman’s former chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, and Siegelman highway director Mack Roberts, on all charges.

“I was satisfied with the verdict. I could tell the jury struggled with it,” said Louis Franklin, lead prosecutor in the case. “The message I hope it sends is you shouldn’t take bribes, that you shouldn’t trade on your office.”

Siegelman and Scrushy sat on the edge of their chairs but showed little emotion as the verdict was being read about 2 p.m. Thursday. Hamrick mouthed thank you to the jury after he was found not guilty. Outside the courthouse, a smiling Siegelman showed no sign of distress, casually chatting with reporters and praising his defense team. “If I’m really guilty of this, then every other person in public office better look out. I mean, everybody’s raising money and putting people on boards and commissions,” Siegelman said.

One hopes everyone isn’t taking half mil contributions in exchange for seats on government boards and other considerations.

Via email tip from an old high school chum who still lives in Alabama. Steven Taylor has more.

UPDATE: Jeff Vreeland has a ton of links to media coverage of the verdict as well as some local news videos.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. gawaine says:

    Thus proving that Siegelmann is, in fact, a stupid monkey, and that Alabama did, in fact, need more Fob. (Only funny if you were there for that particular campaign).

  2. Anderson says:

    How dare the judicial branch interfere with the operations of the executive!

    –No, but really, I’m reminded of Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now. Handing out political-bribery convictions in Alabama (or several other Southern states) is like writing speeding tickets at the Indy 500. The Louisiana legislature would look kind of funny with, like, 3 members convening.

  3. Does anyone notice the dog that is not barking in the story?

    Try this, what party did Siegelman belong to?

    But remember, there is no MSM bias.

  4. Anderson says:

    Does anyone notice the dog that is not barking in the story?

    Try this, what party did Siegelman belong to?

    But remember, there is no MSM bias.

    Right, which is why the following is in the story:

    While on trial, he tried to revive his political career with a run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary but lost earlier this month.

    And your notion of the “mainstream media” is the Birmingham, AL paper??? LOL!

  5. Anderson,

    Your right. I missed that indirect reference to his party. The fact it was on the last page of a four page article and indirect certainly blows out any argument there could have been any bias involved.

    And yes, I see a pretty consistent trend across the MSM (not just the NYT, Globe, LA times, etc). But hey, you seeing the reference I missed shows that there was absolutely no bias in the story. Any republican could expect the same.

    I guess the lack of bias is why circulation is rising so fast.

  6. Anderson says:

    And yes, I see a pretty consistent trend across the MSM (not just the NYT, Globe, LA times, etc).

    But when I look at the MSM, I see their grossly biased treatment of issues in favor of the Republicans, as in the Abramoff scandals, or the Juan Williams bit on NPR today where they discussed what the Republicans would do post-Hamdan without even wondering what the Dems would do.

    So, who knows, maybe the MSM isn’t biased, it’s just being looked at from biased eyes?

  7. Anderson,

    I had a similar debate with a liberal friend of mine. He was sure the MSM was giving the republicans a free ride while I saw a decidedly liberal bias in the reporting. We challenged each other to produce articles over the next week to support our positions. After one rebuttal showing that it may not be great reporting, but it wasn’t bias of an article he submitted and several articles for which the only rebuttal was they were just sensationalizing things to sell papers, he withdrew from the challenge.

    Take a look at the prominence of the 500 WMD chemical weapons shells found vs other stories in the NYT, etc. If its just sensationalism, then hyping the shells would fit. But if it is liberal bias, burying the story in the paper fits. Check it out for your self.