Don Siegelman "disappointed, but not discouraged"
Posted by Kim Chandler and Mary Orndorff -- Birmingham News March 06, 2009 2:52 PM
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman said today is "disappointed, but not discouraged" that an appellate court today upheld most of his government corruption conviction. "The fight will continue," Siegelman said in an e-mail to supporters.
The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling
upheld key bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice counts against Siegelman but reversed two counts of honest services mail fraud.
The court vacated Siegelman's sentence since the two fraud counts were reversed. Siegelman lawyer Vince Kilborn said a new sentencing hearing will be scheduled in the future.
The next step in the appeal process may be to ask for review by all of the judges of the 11th Circuit, Kilborn said.
A federal jury in 2006 convicted Siegelman and Scrushy of bribery, conspiracy and fraud. Prosecutors alleged Scrushy bribed Siegelman for a seat on the state Certificate of Need Review Board with $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's 1999 lottery campaign. Siegelman also was convicted on a separate obstruction of justice charge. Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison but later was released pending appeal of his case. Scrushy was sentenced to more than six years and still is serving in a federal prison in Texas.
Defense lawyers argued in their appeals that there was not adequate evidence to prove Scrushy and Siegelman struck a deal to swap the CON board appointment for donations to the lottery campaign.
But the court said: "In the absence of a defendant's confession or observation of his wrongdoing by a third person, proof by circumstantial evidence and the fair inferences to be drawn therefrom is both necessary and permissible. .¤.¤. While Siegelman may not approve that the testimony of coconspirators was sufficient to support the jury's findings of fact, the jury was free to disregard or disbelieve it. They believed it."
Siegelman's attorneys also argued that the verdict was tainted by jury misconduct, but the court did not agree.