Verdicts Reached: Siegelman, Scrushy Shocked Over Verdict, Vow Victory On Appeal
On the 11th day of jury deliberations, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and one of the state's former top businessmen, Richard Scrushy, were convicted in federal court in Montgomery on Thursday.
Don Siegelman was convicted on seven counts, including bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud and obstruction of justice charges. Siegelman was acquitted on 25 other counts. Ousted Healthsouth C.E.O. Richard Scrushy is also in big trouble. He was convicted on 6 counts, including bribery, conspiracy and four counts of mail fraud.
Two of those charged were acquitted. Don Siegelman's former chief of staff Paul Hamrick was found not guilty on 8 charges. Siegelman's former transportation director is also a free man, cleared on different charges.
Former Governor Don Siegelman showed no emotion as the verdict was read. The 60-year-old Democrat is free on bond, and he is vowing to reverse the seven convictions and clear his name.
After hearing the verdict, Siegelman said live on WSFA 12, "I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked." He was shocked that he was found guilty of charges stemming from a $500,000 contribution from former Healthsouth C.E.O. Richard Scrushy. It was to pay off a lottery campaign debt in which Siegelman was the guarantor, but the government said it was to buy a seat for Scrushy on the Certificate of Need Board, which regulates hospitals. Siegelman says, "There was no quid pro quo. There was no in exchange for language. I just asked him if he would help us with the education lottery and he did. This man does not deserve to be here. Neither of us deserve to be here."
Scrushy was found guilty of the same charges, which combined, carry a penalty of up to 95 years in prison. Scrushy told WSFA 12's Eileen Jones, "I'm very disappointed. Very disappointed. Many people don't know this. I took a lie detector test and passed it with flying colors. This is not right what has happened here. We are very hurt. We are very hurt for our family. It's a very expensive process. I really can not believe that anyone that sat through this trial saw that there was no evidence tieing me to any of these charges. I think it's very sad. I was very shocked."
Like Siegelman, Scrushy plans to ask the judge to drop the his convictions and if that doesn't work he will ask for a new trial or file for an appeal. Richard Scrushy's attorney, Art Leach, said, "We are deeply disappointed by the verdict but we are going to fight another day. We believe we will get it reversed and when it is reversed we will have a new trial and Richard Scrushy will be found not guilty."