ATLANTA, GA. (WSFA) - Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's and ousted HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy's case came before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia Tuesday morning where the court upheld five convictions but reversed two others.
That means they'll have to go through the resentencing process.
Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted of bribery, fraud and conspiracy charges in a federal probe of corruption in state government in 2006. Siegelman was also found guilty of obstruction of justice charges for attempting to cover up his actions after learning of the investigation.
The prosecution argued during trial that Scrushy disguised payments of more than $500,000 to Siegelman's lottery campaign in exchange for an appointment to a key state hospital regulatory board, called the Certificate of Need or "CON" Board. Siegelman was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released from prison in 2008 pending appeal. Scrushy remains behind bars.
In a 65 page decision the 3-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court reversed two convictions - Counts 8 and 9, but upheld the rest of the corruption convictions. Counts 8 and 9 are listed in court documents as mail services fraud conspiracy convictions.
The Court writes:
Although Counts 8 and 9 incorporate the bribery scheme, thus surviving Skilling, they allege a broader scheme of which, Siegelman argues, he was unaware and in which he did not participate. He contends that there was no evidence at trial to link him to Scrushy's self-dealing scheme. We agree. (Page 26)
[Editor's Note: Skilling vs. United States, which dealt with a law called the "honest services bribery law", was deemed unconstitional by the U.S. Supreme Court. A portion of the Siegleman/Scrutchy prosecution was based on the law and, as such, it was part of the defense's appeal.]
In view of this absolute lack of any evidence whatsoever from which the jury could infer that Siegelman knowingly agreed to or participated in a broader scheme that included Scrushy's alleged subsequent self-dealing while on the Board, we shall reverse Siegelman's convictions on Counts 8 and 9. (Page 29)
The evidence that (Tim) Adams intended to alter his official actions as a result of the receipt of benefits from Scrushy is insufficient, and Scrushy's convictions on Counts 8 and 9 must be reversed. (Page 32)
[Editor's Note: Adams replaced Scrushy as a member of the CON Board and prosecutors alleged Scrushy bribed him to get favorable applications approved for HealthSouth.]
When reached for comment, Don Siegelman said "We know we will win in the end, but today is not the day." Siegelman says he plans to appeal the decision and, if necessary, take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
WSFA 12 News will have more information as it becomes available.