Siegelman, Scrushy Get Prison Terms
Friday, June 29, 2007; 1:32 AM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy got nearly seven years Thursday in a bribery and corruption case that the judge said damaged public trust in state government.
Supporters of both men had testified at their sentencing hearing, describing the positive impact they have had in Alabama during their careers, as attorneys pleaded with U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller to show mercy.
"While it is true the good far exceeds the bad, I must impose a fair punishment to reassure all that come before this court that justice is blind," Fuller said in sentencing Siegelman.
Both men were immediately taken into custody after the judge denied defense requests to let them remain free while they appeal.
The two once-prominent figures in politics and business were escorted out of the courtroom by U.S. marshals and were not allowed to talk to family members. Scrushy's family cried quietly in the courtroom. Siegelman's wife, Lori, left immediately.
Asked by reporters about her husband's sentence and being immediately taken into custody, she said, "I expected it." She got into her car without further comment.
Others in the shocked courtroom did not expect such sudden imprisonment.
"Being taken into custody immediately was completely unnecessary," said David McDonald, a Siegelman attorney.
Siegelman was fined $50,000 due immediately and ordered to pay $181,325 in restitution to a state agency where prosecutors said kickbacks were made. He is to perform 500 hours of community service when his sentence of seven years, four months is completed.
Scrushy was fined $150,000 due immediately, plus ordered to pay restitution of $267,000 to United Way of Central Alabama. He also was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service after serving six years and 10 months in prison.
Both are to be on supervised release for three years when their terms end.
Fuller had increased the possible sentence range for Siegelman to more than 15 years earlier Thursday and left Scrushy's possible range at eight to 10 years. But he was not bound by the guidelines. Prosecutors asked for 30 years for Siegelman and 25 for Scrushy, while the defense pleaded for probation for both.