NATION IN BRIEF

NATION IN BRIEF

Don Siegelman is serving a seven-year sentence.
Don Siegelman is serving a seven-year sentence. (Rob Carr - AP)

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ex-Ala. Governor Seeks Special Prosecutor

Attorneys for imprisoned former Alabama governor Don Siegelman called Monday for the Justice Department to bring in a special prosecutor after a key government witness was quoted as saying he was told to write out his testimony to "get his story straight."

Vince Kilborn, a lawyer for the former Democratic governor, said the defense was never told of written testimony by Nick Bailey, a former Siegelman aide whose testimony was crucial to the government.

In its "60 Minutes" program Sunday, CBS News quoted Bailey as saying prosecutors met with him about 70 times. He said they had him regularly write out his testimony because they were frustrated with his recollection of events.

The written notes, if they existed, could have damaged the credibility of Bailey's story, but no such notes were turned over to the defense, as would have been required by law, Kilborn said.

Louis Franklin, the assistant U.S. attorney who led Siegelman's prosecution, called Bailey's reported assertion "absolutely not true."

"We don't ask witnesses to write out their statements," Franklin said. "If Nick is saying he wrote out some notes, he did that on his own. He certainly did not share that with us."

Siegelman was convicted in 2006 on six bribery-related charges and one charge of obstruction of justice, and he began serving a sentence of more than seven years last June. Bailey, the key witness, alleged that Siegelman appointed then-HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy's arranging $500,000 in contributions to a campaign for a state lottery spearheaded by Siegelman.

Arizona's Renzi Vows to Stay in House Despite Indictment

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) said he will not resign from the House, despite being indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Tucson on 35 charges. The counts, which include money laundering, wire fraud and extortion, relate to a land-swap scheme and his alleged embezzlement of money from his own company to fund his first House campaign. "I will not resign and take on the cloak of guilt because I am innocent. My legal team . . . will handle these legal issues while I continue to serve my constituents," Renzi said in a statement.

Scuba Diver Dies After Shark Bite

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- An Austrian tourist died after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators. Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami. Groh was bitten on the leg, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen said, but he could not be more specific about the extent of his injuries.

Georgia Couple Claim $275 Million Jackpot

ATLANTA -- A Georgia ironworker and his wife have claimed the $275 million jackpot from Friday's Mega Millions lottery drawing. Robert Harris, 47, says he picked the winning numbers from Friday's multistate drawing by using his grandchildren's birthdays. The winning numbers were 7, 12, 13, 19 and 22, plus the Mega Ball number 10.

-- From Washingtonpost.com Staff Reports and News Services


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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