COPY-Siegelman trial may be felt outside courtroom in primary race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. Testimony resumes tomorrow in the bribery trial of former Gov. Don Siegelman. The testimony of Nick Bailey, once a Siegelman top aide and now a key government witness, concluded last week with both the prosecution and defense viewing it in ways favorable to their cases. But to political scientist William Stewart, the biggest hurdle now facing Siegelman may be explaining to jurors why he kept Bailey in trusted roles on his staff for seven years.

Stewart also said the allegations of corruption being raised in court may not help Siegelman with voters in the June Sixth Democratic primary, where he is running for governor again.Defense attorneys spent three days last week trying to discredit Bailey, who testified that he, Siegelman and former chief of staff Paul Hamrick had a long standing agreement to provide favors for landfill developer Lanny Young in exchange for Young's gifts and campaign donations.Bailey also testified that Siegelman agreed to appoint former HealthSouth C-E-O Richard Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging for 500-thousand dollars in campaign donations.Defense attorneys could not get Bailey to change his basic story, but Bailey did admit to taking more than 200-thousand dollars in bribes, lying frequently in the past and to being deeply in debt while working for Siegelman.Chief prosecutor Louis Franklin wouldn't say who the government's next witness will be, but he said the government will continue to present evidence concerning Siegelman's appointment of Scrushy to the state Certificate of Need Review Board.

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