Scrushy denied request for prison release

File Photo: Richard Scrushy
File Photo: Richard Scrushy

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy has lost a bid to be released from prison on bond for his conviction on bribery charges in a government corruption case.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller on Monday rejected Scrushy's request that he be released immediately. Scrushy argued that he has already served more than four years of his nearly seven-year sentence and that he is not a risk to flee.

Scrushy said his sentence is likely to be reduced further because a federal appeals court dropped two charges for which he was convicted and has ordered a new sentencing hearing.

But Fuller said in his order that even with the dropped charges, Scrushy's remaining sentence is within federal sentencing guidelines.

"The court concludes that a reversal or a reduced sentence less than the total of the time already served is not likely," Fuller said in the ruling. Because of that Fuller said he did not rule on Scrushy's argument that he is not a flight risk.

Scrushy and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman were convicted in a 2006 government corruption trial. Siegelman is out of prison on appeal bond after serving nine months of a more than seven-year sentence.

Prosecutors accused Siegelman of appointing Scrushy to a seat on a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery to fund education programs.

Attorneys for Siegelman and Scrushy will be back in the federal courthouse in Montgomery on Wednesday for a hearing before Magistrate Judge Charles Coody. Siegelman wants government prosecutors to release papers regarding the recusal of former U.S. Attorney Leura Canary from the case. Siegelman has argued that Canary's husband was a Republican Party operative when Siegelman ran for governor as a Democrat. Canary has said she stepped down from the case, but Siegelman has argued she remained active in the investigation.

Siegelman said Wednesday he was glad that he would finally get a chance to present his arguments in court.

"We're glad to have this opportunity to go before a judge with the argument that we were treated unfairly," Siegelman said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)