Skip to comments.Siegelman to be released from prison
Posted on 03/27/2008 1:39:41 PM PDT by balch3
Former Gov. Don Siegelman will be released from prison, after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted him an appeal bond, the lead prosecutor in the case said.
Acting U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin said he received a courtesy call from the court today. "He's going to be released," Franklin said.
He said he was disappointed but said, "The 11th Circuit has the discretion to do that and I respect that."
Kim Chandler Return to al.com for updates on this breaking story.
He should have stayed in prison where he belongs.
it’s going to be a circus in Washington if he testifies. I wish president Bush had just ignored this court order, like he (justifieably) has ignored others.
By his whim Rove put Siegelman in prison and by his whim he can get him released. < / sar >
It’s not like our former governor is a flight risk, and this is just a release on bail while Seigelman fights his felony *convictions*.
Remember how the news media would *always* say “White sumpremicist Randy Weaver said...”?!
Well, if we had a fair and balanced news media they would lead off with “Convicted Felon Don Seigelman says...”
I’ve read up on this a little. I’m not sure he was guilty of anything.
He was guilty of plenty. If you are reading the national media, they don’t even have half of this story right.
I’d much rather he be released on appeal and sent back to jail once the appeal is exhausted and denied. Then he will have to rot there with little or no publicity—the worst punishment of all for Siegelman.
Ex-Ala. governor to be freed on bond
BOB JOHNSON, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A federal appeals court approved the release of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on bond Thursday while he appeals his convictions in a corruption case.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the former governor had raised “substantial questions of fact and law” in challenging his conviction, which Siegelman claims was politically motivated.
The once-popular Democrat began serving a sentence of more than seven years in June on his conviction on six bribery-related counts and one obstruction count. He has been serving the sentence at a federal prison in Oakdale, La.
The former governor’s release was approved the same day the House Judiciary Committee announced it wanted Siegelman to testify before Congress about possible political influence over his prosecution.
“It’s a sweet day. He’s an innocent man and he’s been in prison for nine months,” said Siegelman’s attorney, Vince Kilborn.
Kilborn said that he and other attorneys were working to have Siegelman released from the Louisiana prison as soon as they can deliver a certified copy of the court’s order to prison officials. It was not immediately clear when that would occur.
Federal prosecutors accused Siegelman, 62, of appointing Richard Scrushy, HealthSouth CEO at the time, to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman’s campaign for a statewide lottery.
Scrushy, who was tried along with Siegelman, also was convicted on bribery counts and is serving a sentence of nearly seven years. The 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, has ruled that the multimillionaire Birmingham businessman is a potential flight risk, but that Siegelman is not.
Siegelman was also convicted of a separate obstruction of justice charge concerning $9,200 he received from a lobbyist to help with the purchase of a motorcycle. His attorneys have said it was a legitimate transaction.
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery had refused to allow Siegelman to remain free on appeal while challenging his conviction. But the 11th Circuit said Thursday he met the legal standard to be freed in the “complex and protracted” case.
The appeals process had been delayed for months after the court reporter during the trial died and the transcript was not completed as it normally would have.
Appellate court Judges Susan Black and Stanley Marcus said Siegelman could be released under the same conditions that he was allowed to remain free for about a year after his June 2006 conviction.
The amount of bond then was not disclosed. Restrictions were placed on his travel, but while awaiting sentencing he had been approved for out-of-state trips.
Chief prosecutor Louis Franklin said he was “very disappointed” by the ruling but still expects the appellate court to rule against Siegelman’s appeal.
“I don’t view this as a setback. The order is very short and concise and only deals with whether he is entitled to bond pending appeal,” Franklin said.
Siegelman has maintained that certain Republicans targeted him after he was elected governor in 1998 in an attempt to derail his political career.
Kilborn said the former governor has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating allegations of political meddling in Justice Department affairs by the Bush administration.
The department and the federal prosecutors who handled Siegelman’s prosecution have denied any political influence, emphasizing that he was convicted by a jury. But critics, including a group of former state attorneys general, have called for an independent review and said the case raises questions.
It all started with Seigelman fixing speeding tickets for everyone on his staff.
Had he just issued pardons instead of performed arm-twisting of judges behind the scenes, no one would have been looking at the small bribes that he was routinely taking...although his buddy Scrushy threw his own light onto Seigelman with his hospital board appointment (which was an attempt to fight existing corruption in how Alabama cities “allow” medical competition).
Notice that no one is offering Scrushy a deal to testify against the existing hospital board corruption. The Feds don’t get it and the Alabama prosecutors don’t want to touch it.