Eleventh Circuit upholds convictions against former Alabama governor, HealthSouth CEO

[JURIST] A three judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Friday upheld [opinion, PDF] the 2006 convictions [DOJ press release; JURIST report] of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman (D) [official profile; JURIST news archive] and former HealthSouth [corporate website] CEO Richard Scrushy [JURIST news archive] on federal bribery and corruption charges. The reversed two counts of mail fraud against Siegelman based a lack of evidence, but upheld the remaining five charges. All of the charges against Scrushy were upheld. In confirming the bribery charges, the court rejected the appellants' argument that there was not evidence of an explicit agreement of quid pro quo between Siegelman and Scrushy, a necessary element for federal bribery charges:

What is missing in this record, according to defendants, is any evidence of a discussion between Governor Siegelman and Scrushy to the effect of "I will make this contribution, and in exchange for this contribution you will appoint me["]... We disagree ... Bailey’s testimony was competent evidence that Siegelman and Scrushy had agreed to a deal in which Scrushy’s donation would be rewarded with a seat on the CON Board. The jurors were free to give it a different construction, but they did not. Furthermore, this was not the sole evidence that Scrushy bribed Siegelman. The jury was entitled to construe this conversation in the context of the substantial additional testimony they had heard regarding Scrushy’s donation to the lottery campaign fund.
While the court remanded Siegelman's case for resentencing, his attorneys have said they will appeal [AP report] the decision.

In 2007, Siegelman was sentenced [JURIST report] to over seven years in prison. Siegelman was originally convicted on seven counts, including bribery, conspiracy, and mail fraud. Scrushy was found guilty of fraud and both were also convicted in connection with a $500,000 payment from Scrushy for Siegelman's 1999 campaign debts in exchange for a seat on a state-operated review board that regulates hospitals. Scrushy was also sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison.


 

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