Guest Blog: Details Emerge of New Charges against Siegelman, Scrushy
For the first time I saw in print the main thrust of the prosecutors’ case against former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Siegelman allegedly awarded seats on the state board that regulates the health care industry to Scrushy and his cronies in exchange for campaign contributions during the lottery special election. This is the kind of quid pro quo charge that people will understand. If the case goes to trial (and Siegelman’s lawyers say they want the trial to be over before next June’s primary), then I would expect lots of ugly details to emerge about the manner in which big-time contributors gain access and influence in Montgomery. Even if Siegelman is cleared of accepting campaign contributions as bribes, most Alabamians will just not understand why Scrushy and his pals would have been put on a state board where they would have such clear conflicts of interest.
If the case goes to trial, at best the Siegelman administration will be shown to have had some questionable ethical practices; at worst, he’ll be a convicted felon. I don’t see how Siegelman’s political future survives a trial. Scrushy was “vindicated” in his jury trial. I don’t know too many people who don’t think Scrushy was probably guilty of something or who don’t at least have a lower opinion of him after his trial. See also O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. Which is why, regardless of Siegelman’s claims that he looks forward to a trial so he can clear his name, I assume his lawyers will be trying to get these charges thrown out like they did the first ones. A prediction: if there is a trial, Siegelman will not be the next Governor of Alabama
-- CNH 320