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.