Don Siegleman to be Released

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal appeals court has approved the release of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on bond while he appeals his bribery conviction.

The release could come as early as today, though a call prison officials indicates Siegelman was still incarsarated as of 4p.m.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that Siegelman has met the legal standard necessary to allow him to be free from prison while he seeks to show he was wrongly convicted.

The House Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department to temporarily release Siegelman from prison to testify before Congress in early May about possible political influence over his prosecution.

A spokeswoman for the committee said Thursday that Siegelman would travel to Washington under guard of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, wants to hear directly from Siegelman because lawmakers are having trouble getting information elsewhere, including from the Justice Department.

Democrats last year began reviewing the case as part of a broader investigation what they said were selective prosecutions by the Bush administration.

The former Democratic governor is serving a sentence of more than seven years for six bribery-related counts and one obstruction count.

Siegelman began serving the term last June and is currently being held at the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana.

An appeal to release Richard Scrushy, who was convicted at the same time as the former governor, was denied according to U.S. Distric Attorney Louis Franklin.

WSFA 12 News will have the very latest on this story tonight on WSFA 12 News at 5 and 6.