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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is crossing the state, but he's not running for office again. He's running from a prison sentence.
He doesn't want to go back behind bars for a crime he says he didn't commit. His children have started a grassroots effort to free their father and they are asking for support and signatures.
Siegelman's daughter, Dana, started an online petition to keep her dad from going back to prison to finish his sentence on a bribery conviction. So far, she's gotten more than 5,000 signatures on this petition, but she and the family want as many names as possible to present to the president. They're hoping President Obama will commute Siegelman's six-and-a-half year sentence and later, give him a pardon.
Siegelman said his chances of a commutation of his sentence are not good, but he is holding out hope. Just last month, Siegelman was re-sentenced to more than six years behind bars for bribery after he exhausted all routes for an appeal. Siegelman's bribery conviction stems from reappointing former Health South CEO Richard Scrushy to the State Certificate of Needs board. Scrushy donated $500,000 to an education lottery campaign fund. A judge and jury considered that a bribe.
Siegelman's son, Joseph, who is in his last year of law school at the University of Alabama, is trekking across the state to help gather signatures for the "Free Don" petition. He dreads seeing his father head off to prison again, around his birthday.
Right now, the former governor knows he's going to prison on September the 11th, a day dictated by the judge, that Siegelman said was a deliberate message to him about personal freedom. He said the petition will be presented to whoever will be president after the November election.