Legal Pundit Toobin Seeks Obama Pardon For Siegelman

 

The New Yorker Magazine's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin last week advocated a presidential pardon for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Don SiegelmanIn writing Why Obama Should Pardon Don Siegelman, the commentator understated in erroneous fashion the gross injustice of the prosecution, according to Siegelman's co-defendant Richard Scrushy.

The former HealthSouth CEO commented that Toobin is among the many journalists who have accepted a false prosecution narrative that Scrushy donated $500,000 in 1999 to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation in order to obtain appointment to a governor-appointed regulatory board.

Scrushy, shown a photo with one of his nine children during his five years in prison, said the sum was $250,000 and it came from HealthSouth at the request of a fellow businessman, not Siegelman -- and Scrushy did not want to serve on the board.

Update: Scrushy's expanded comments are shown below in an appendix, reported here exclusively.

The developments were among several last week in the federal-state prosecution that has become a human rights disgrace for the American judicial system.

Additionally, Siegelman's friends reported that the defendant has spent a month in remarkably uncomfortable transit and in solitary confinement surrounding his so-far unsuccessful federal hearings Dec. 15 and Jan. 13. Siegelman sought release on bond Dec. 15 before U.S. District Judge Clay Land in Montgomery, and then argued his appeal last week before a three-judge panel in Atlanta.

Earlier this month, legal blogger Roger Shuler argued Siegelman lawyers claim that U.S. Magistrate Charles Coody lied about reviewing Leura Canary documents. Coody failed to respond to our request for comment last week.

In 2004, the Bush Justice Department failed to win convictions in separate trials of Siegelman and Scrushy but succeeded in a second joint trial in 2006 with a new judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Alabama's middle district based in Montgomery.

Siegelman was Alabama's most prominent Democrat when he was governor from 1999 to 2003, but has been continually investigated, prosecuted, or imprisoned since his first months in office in 1999, beginning by then-Alabama Attorney Gen. William Pryor, who now sits on the federal appeals court.

Toobin, a graduate of both Harvard College and the university's law school, has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1993. In the late 1980s, he was a federal prosecutor working on the Iran-Contra case. Adding to his influence, he is the author of multiple books on legal affairs and has been the senior legal analyst for CNN since 2002.

Toobin reached the correct conclusion last week in stating regarding a case we have reported in-depth here for more than five years:

Through six years in office, President Obama has been especially stingy in granting pardons and commutations. But the power to grant clemency is an important one; it should be wielded with care, but it should be used. Our prisons are nearly full. Not everyone who is there belongs there. Don Seigelman is one person who should not be incarcerated anymore, and the President can and should make sure that he is freed.

However, Toobin's factual background on the case understated, perhaps erroneously on the $500,000 figure, the outrageous irregularities that have permeated the case.

Here was Toobin's factual summary published by the New Yorker in a column dated Jan. 14:

Barack Obama Official PhotoSiegelman, a Democrat, served a single term in office, from 1999 to 2003, in the last days before Alabama turned into an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent the subsequent decade dealing with the fallout from the case that landed him in prison—a case that, at its core, is about a single campaign contribution.

Siegelman ran for office on a promise to create a state lottery to fund education in Alabama. The issue went to a ballot question, and Richard Scrushy, a prominent health-care executive, donated five hundred thousand dollars to support the pro-lottery campaign. (Voters rejected the lottery.)

After Scrushy had given the first half of his contribution, Siegelman reappointed him to Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board (the CON Board), which regulates health care in the state.

Scrushy had served on the CON Board through the administrations of three different governors. The heart of the case against Siegelman came down to a single conversation that he had with Nick Bailey, a close aide of the Governor’s, about a two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar check from Scrushy for the lottery campaign. 

Toobin's New Yorker column dated Jan. 14 stated as background:

Siegelman, a Democrat, served a single term in office, from 1999 to 2003, in the last days before Alabama turned into an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent the subsequent decade dealing with the fallout from the case that landed him in prison—a case that, at its core, is about a single campaign contribution.

Siegelman ran for office on a promise to create a state lottery to fund education in Alabama. The issue went to a ballot question, and Richard Scrushy, a prominent health-care executive, donated five hundred thousand dollars to support the pro-lottery campaign. (Voters rejected the lottery.) [Editor's Note: Emphasis added.]

After Scrushy had given the first half of his contribution, Siegelman reappointed him to Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board (the CON Board), which regulates health care in the state. Scrushy had served on the CON Board through the administrations of three different governors. The heart of the case against Siegelman came down to a single conversation that he had with Nick Bailey, a close aide of the Governor’s, about a two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar check from Scrushy for the lottery campaign.

Bailey testified that after the meeting, Siegelman showed him the check, said that it was from Scrushy and that Scrushy was “halfway there.” Bailey asked “what in the world is he going to want for that?” Siegelman replied, “the CON Board.” Bailey then asked, “I wouldn’t think that would be a problem, would it?” Siegelman responded, “I wouldn’t think so.”

In a comment posted Jan. 14 on the Free Don Facebook page maintained by Siegelman supporters, Scrushy disputed Toobin's factual summary of the case, including regarding that of the chief prosecution witnesses, former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey. Scrushy's comments, with minor typographical changes made here, was:

I never gave a single dime to Governor Siegelman and the facts show this but for some reason the jury didn't care about the facts either and neither did the prosecutors or the judge.

First, I never wrote a check to him [Siegelman] and he never received any money. HealthSouth did donate $250,000 to the Alabama Democratic party along with Alabama Power, Alfa Insurance and many other companies and those funds were used to pay back the money the party had borrowed to pay the marketing expenses for the Educational lottery foundation.
 
The prosecutors kept saying that I gave the Governor $500,000. They said it in the courtroom and to the press over and over till they got it to stick in the minds of the jury and people everywhere. The press played right into their lies and propaganda. This actually helped them win the case and till this day every single article that is written about this case states that I gave the Governor $500,000 which is totally false.
 
I have repeatedly told the press, newspapers, magazines and television that I never gave the Governor a dime, but the press continues with the lies of our Government prosecutors. Their PR campaign was effective and it continues to have legs regardless that it is totally false.
 
Bush and Obama officials have pursued their case in an investigation and appellate process that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
 
The Justice Integrity Project has for years documented how Siegelman was framed for largely political reasons, with prosecution and judicial misconduct rubber-stamped by a primarily Republican judiciary. The Obama Justice Department led by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder named cover-up artists to conduct internal investigations that demonstrably put a higher priority on whitewashing departmental misconduct than the department's ostensible goals of truth-seeking and justice. 
 
We treat the Toobin column and criticism at such length here both in recognition of his prominence but also to illustrate that even the famed New Yorker is vulnerable criticism on matters of fact and pro-prosecution bias. In fairness, our project also has occasionally used the $500,000 figure for brevity, in part because of it's frequent repetition by authorities and other media.
 
The media for the most part operate with a convention that a conviction, especially one affirmed on appeal, means that prosecution statements are often adopted without attribution or explanation.
 
But that should hardly be the case in a case that has generated so much criticism by legal scholars, commentators, and whistleblowers as this.
 
The criticism includes a trial judge secretly enriched by the federal government with $300 million in defense contracts he secretly controlled as its largest stockholder, as we have often reported, beginning in 2009 in an investigation published by the Huffington Post published on its front-page. Last summer, Fuller was arrested and suspended for beating his wife, who also was his clerk during the Siegelman-Scrushy trial.    
 
Scrushy is a Republican whose company HealthSouth and its insurers were found liable in a civil fraud trail while he was imprisoned. Damages were billions of dollars of civil fraud charges, with a half million dollars awarded to plaintiffs' counsel led by a co-counsel for Siegelman in his criminal case, Douglas Jones, and Rob Riley, the son of Siegelman's major political rival and successor, Republican Gov. Robert Riley (2003-2011).
 
Scrushy continued:
 
The story Nick Bailey and the Government made up about the check was totally false. I never gave the Governor a check and I wasn't even in his office the day Nick testified that I was there. HealthSouth security and their chief pilot testified that I was not in Montgomery on that date. They gave testimony and proof that I was somewhere else. Nick said the check had my name on it and we proved that not only was my name not on the check but that I never even gave the Governor a check. The story was created by the prosecutors, and Nick has since told others that he was pressured into the testimony he gave.
 
Another testimony that the press will not ever print is the testimony of Elmer Harris who was the transition chief for the Governor and the President of Alabama Power. Mr. Harris testified that Richard Scrushy did not want to serve on the Certificate of Need board and that he had to convince Richard that it was good for the state and that the Governor needed his experience on that board. Richard said okay but I will only serve one more year which is what he did then he resigned.
 
Now, if I had cut a deal with the Governor to get to serve on that board why would I resign and only serve one year when it was a three-year term?
 
More generally, Scrushy said, echoing remarks he stated in interviews upon his release on the Peter B. Collins radio show and on HuffPost Live video:
 
You must also remember that I served under the following Governors; Jim Folsom, Guy Hunt and Fob James and I was tired of being on that board and really wanted off. I had already resigned under Fob James and when Governor Siegelman was elected he asked Elmer Harris to ask me to go back on the board. It was also proven that I received no benefit from being on the board.
 
Scrushy said prosecutors promised him freedom if he would falsely testify against Siegelman during the 2006, as reported by Roger Shuler in Richard Scrushy: Convictions In the Siegelman Case Are Grounded In A Former Aide's Flawed Testimony. There is no public record of any investigation of the charges under oath by either the Bush or Obama administration.
 
More generally, Scrushy wrote last week:
 
I pray that God almighty will shine His bright light on all the corruption, the behind the scene dealings, the politics and truth in this case.
 
I believe that one day that will happen and this case will be seen for the horrible injustice it is and political corruption that took place. Right now I pray that the 11th circuit or the President or somebody will come forward and finally let this Governor who is innocent out of prison and let him go home and be with his family.
 
He is truly a political prisoner. I have to ask God daily to help me with what they did to my family, my wife, and my little children. I have 9 children and 5 of them were still at home just little children with one a baby in diapers when they sent me off for five years to prison 600 miles from my family.
 
They did this on a story that was a lie and that our government prosecutors just made up to take out a powerful Democratic governor. I will always believe it also was to get back at me for beating them on the HealthSouth case in Birmingham.

Toobin noted that Siegelman was convicted in 2006 of seven counts, including bribery, conspiracy, and fraud. He was acquitted of twenty-two charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. An appeals court overturned two of the seven convictions and allowed Siegelman out on bail during some of the time his case was on appeal.

Siegelman, 68, is currently incarcerated in a federal transit facility in Oklahoma instead of his normal locale in Oakdale. Since his first imprisonment in 2007 he has been frequently shunted to distant prisons and kept in solitary confinement and shackles, thereby limiting contact with family, attorneys, supporters, and the news media when he was not on release with an appeal bond. His projected release date in mid-2017. Authorities have stripped him of his law license and pension after a career primarily in state government, and federal law prevents payment of any Social Security benefits. 

Update on Richard Scrushy's full comments, reported here exclusively:

“Always remember and make it clear that Gov Siegelman never received any money or benefit from any of this, not one dime. All of this is a fairy tale. They took different facts and pieced them together and then said that I gave the Governor $500,000 for a seat on the CON [Certificate of Need] board that I had sat on under three governors prior to the Seigelman appointment, two Democrats and two Republicans.

"I had resigned under Fob James and Seigelman asked that I go back on the board. He gave me a three-year appointment, but I told him I would only serve one year and that is what I did. I resigned after one year. So why would I pay a bribe to get an appointment that I didn't want?”

Also, Scrushy told interviewer Sharron Williams more detail, which she reported to the Justice Integrity Project as follows:
 
"Another testimony that the press will not ever print is the testimony of Elmer Harris, who was the transition chief for the governor and the president of Alabama Power. Mr. Harris testified that Richard Scrushy did not want to serve on the Certificate of Need board and that he had to convince Richard Scrushy that it was good for the state and that the governor needed his experience on that board. Richard said, 'Okay, but I will only serve one more year,' which is what he did and then he resigned."
 
 
Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 
 

 

Background


Who's Who? Chart Prepared by Siegelman Supporters

 

 

Siegelman Case Relationship Chart

Selected Justice Integrity Project Coverage

Justice Integrity Project, Siegelman Hearing Scheduled Jan. 13 As 'Solitary' Continues, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 12, 2015. A federal appeals court in Atlanta hears on Jan. 13 the latest appeal of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, one of the nation’s leading political prisoners.

Justice Integrity Project, Shackled Siegelman Typifies White House ‘Human Rights’ Charade, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 29, 2014. Federal authorities continued this month their remarkably harsh, unjust treatment of the nation’s most famous political prisoner. The U.S. legal jihad against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman continued even as the Obama administration separately cited “human rights” as the rationale for new U.S. sanctions and other interventions overseas.

Justice Integrity Project, Supreme Court Denies Siegelman, Scrushy Appeals, Andrew Kreig, June 4, 2012. True to recent form, the U.S. Supreme Court denied relief June 4 to former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges. This sets the stage for Siegelman's reimprisonment in the most notorious federal political prosecution and frame-up of the decade. The court denied without comment the certiorari petition of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth, Inc.

 

Related News Coverage

Update:

Don Siegelman Oakdale OpEdNews, Yes, I'm back at Oakdale Prison after 49 days of travel, Don Siegelman, Jan. 23, 2015. Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, shown in prison garb, is serving a much-disputed 78-month federal sentence on corruption charges. His report follows to supporters after being kept largely in solitary confinement and travel the past 49 days. Yes, I'm back at Oakdale Prison after 49 days of travel. What might have otherwise been a seven-hour car trip to court was 49 days of travel, five buses, five vans and three airplanes, over 70 US Marshals and countless numbers of jail and prison correctional officers to shackle, handcuff, chain, "box" and lock me before and after each trip and for court.

New Yorker, Why Obama Should Pardon Don Siegelman, Jeffrey Toobin, Jan. 14, 2015. Through six years in office, President Obama has been especially stingy in granting pardons and commutations. But the power to grant clemency is an important one; it should be wielded with care, but it should be used. Our prisons are nearly full. Not everyone who is there belongs there. Don Seigelman is one person who should not be incarcerated anymore, and the President can and should make sure that he is freed. Since the midterm elections, President Barack Obama has been acting as if he feels liberated from parochial political concerns. After taking action on immigration, Cuba, and climate change, he should take on another risky, if less well-known, challenge by commuting the prison sentence of Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama.

New York Times, Lawyers for Don Siegelman, Ex-Governor of Alabama, Again Seek His Release From Prison, Alan Blinder, Jan. 13, 2015. For the second time in less than a month, lawyers for former Gov. Don E. Siegelman of Alabama on Tuesday took his corruption case into a federal courtroom in an attempt to speed his eventual release from prison. During arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, a lawyer for Mr. Siegelman, Clifford M. Sloan, said allegations of misconduct by a prosecutor merited further exploration. He also said the judge who presided over the former governor’s 2006 trial had erred in applying federal sentencing guidelines. The questions raised in the appeal “go to the very heart and core of the fairness of the prosecution and imprisonment of Mr. Siegelman,” Mr. Sloan, who until recently was the Obama administration’s special envoy for the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, told the three-judge panel here. But a Justice Department lawyer, John-Alex Romano, insisted that Judge Mark E. Fuller had imposed an appropriate prison sentence — 78 months — and that the United States attorney at the beginning of the inquiry, Leura Canary, had sufficiently honored her pledge to recuse herself from the case.

Peter B. Collins, Exclusive: Richard Scrushy Breaks Silence on His Conviction with Gov. Siegelman in Bogus Bribery Case Linked to Karl Rove, interview by Peter B. Collins (shown in file photo), April 4, 2013. Richard Scrushy, former HealthSouth CEO who was convicted of bribing former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and served about 6 years in federal prison, gives some new dimensions to the sordid story we’ve covered for many years in this exclusive interview, co-anchored with Roger Shuler of Legal Schnauzer.Scrushy’s rags-to-riches story includes founding and being CEO of HealthSouth, which he built into a giant in its field. In this in-depth interview, he offers his view of the controversial case that sent him and former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman to federal prison. This is the first media interview Scrushy since being released last summer.

Alyona MinkovskiHuffPost Live, Richard Scrushy Breaks Silence On Siegelman Case, Alyona Minkovski, May 7, 2013. (34.52 min.) Richard Scrushy provides his first on-camera interview since serving six years in prison for allegedly bribing Gov Don Siegelman. We'll learn why Scrushy believes Siegelman is innocent and the victim of a political prosecution motivated by Karl Rove.

Anniston Star (AL), Editorial: A gross injustice in sentencing, Editorial board, Jan. 7, 2015. Robert F. McDonnell, the man who served as Virginia’s governor from 2010 until 2014, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison Tuesday. To say McDonnell was convicted of corruption is to tell only a fraction of the story surrounding his dealings while in office. Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama, is serving a 78-month sentence in federal prison. Siegelman was convicted of trading a $500,000 contribution to the governor’s pro-statewide lottery campaign for a seat on a state board, a position the contributor, former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, had previously held. That is essentially the reason many U.S. ambassadors/presidential contributors hold their posts. Same for how every governor fills out state boards across the United States. Yet, somehow Siegelman is the one serving more than seven years in prison. His term is scheduled to end in August 2017. McDonnell’s two-year sentence should conclude in February 2017, six months ahead of Siegelman’s release date. Smells like a gross injustice against Don Siegelman.

Legal Schnauzer, Oral arguments in Siegelman case might be overshadowed by reports about magistrate's deceit, Roger Shuler, Jan. 13, 2015. Oral arguments in the Don Siegelman case are set to be heard today before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. But the proceedings might be overshadowed by revelations over the past week that a U.S. magistrate failed to review key documents in the case and then lied about it in his ruling. We broke the story last week that U.S. Magistrate Charles S. Coody, from the Middle District of Alabama, claimed he had "thoroughly reviewed" documents related to the supposed recusal of former U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. But as we reported yesterday, lawyers for both Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy state in court filings that Coody never even ordered the Canary-related documents from the U.S. Department of Justice, so he could not possibly have reviewed them.

Legal Schnauzer, Here is more evidence that U.S. Magistrate Charles Coody lied about review of papers in Siegelman case, Roger Shuler, Jan. 12, 2015. Evidence continues to mount that a U.S. magistrate in the Middle District of Alabama lied when he stated that he had "thoroughly reviewed" documents related to prosecutor Leura Canary's supposed recusal in the Don Siegelman case. That might cause a reasonable person to ask: What in the world is in the Canary documents that would cause a federal magistrate to lie openly in court documents -- with at least five more judges helping to perpetuate the lie in followup rulings? Are these judges trying to protect powerful individuals who were pulling Canary's strings in the background, ensuring that the Siegelman case was a political prosecution--as the former Alabama governor and his supporters have claimed for years.

Legal Schnauzer, Siegelman lawyers claim that U.S. Magistrate Charles Coody lied about reviewing Leura Canary documents, Roger Shuler, Jan. 7, 2015. The federal judge who claims he reviewed documents in the Don Siegelman case related to the recusal of U.S. Attorney Leura Canary never actually saw any such documents, according to a court filing. U.S. Magistrate Charles S. Coody, from the Middle District of Alabama, states in an order dated June 27, 2012, that he reviewed in camera (in private, in his chambers) all documents that Siegelman sought and found they contained "no exculpatory matter" that would "further" the former governor's claims. Coody proceeded to deny Siegelman's request for discovery, just as he had earlier denied a similar motion from codefendant Richard Scrushy, the former CEO of HealthSouth. By our unofficial count, Coody became the first of at least six federal judges to deny discovery on the Canary-recusal issue--the others being trial judge Mark Fuller; a three-judge panel of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals; and, most recently, U.S. District Judge Clay Land, who was appointed to hear the case in the wake of Fuller's wife-beating scandal. All six judges to consider the matter have denied discovery by essentially following Coody's lead -- and his claim that he had privately reviewed all relevant material that Siegelman requested. But Siegelman's lawyers state, in a brief dated August 26, 2013, that Coody never reviewed any documents related to Canary's recusal. In fact, the Siegelman team states that Coody only reviewed documents related to primary government witness Nick Bailey and never even ordered documents about Canary. In essence, Siegelman's lawyers are calling Coody a liar -- and they are saying that Coody's lies have tainted the defendants' cases for roughly 2 1/2 years now.

Don Siegelman, Finding Don; Seeking Justice, Anita Darden, Jan. 12, 2015. Despite everything that has happened, we continue to believe - sometimes unrealistically -- that America has the best justice system in the world. If it gets derailed somehow, as we believe that it has been in this case, well then, citizens like us can raise our voices and we will be heard! We will exhaust all venues, fully expecting that justice will be restored in the case of Don Siegelman. And we have a duty to refuse to let this ruling stand because it provides a playbook and a precedent in political persecution that cannot stand.

Justice Integrity Project, Shackled Siegelman Typifies White House ‘Human Rights’ Charade, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 29, 2014. Federal authorities continued this month their remarkably harsh, unjust treatment of the nation’s most famous political prisoner. The U.S. legal jihad against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman continued even as the Obama administration separately cited “human rights” as the rationale for new U.S. sanctions and other interventions overseas. Authorities shackled Siegelman during his Dec. 15 court appearance in the state capital of Montgomery, denied his request for release on bond during appeal, and reportedly are keeping him in solitary confinement over the holidays so far in a county jail while he awaits an appellate hearing next month.  The Obama administration’s hypocrisy is thus displayed as it continues Bush-Clinton policies of citing “human rights” abuses elsewhere around the world as an excuse to foment revolutions, covert paramilitary actions, and propaganda campaigns on multiple continents, including secret operations to influence United States voters

Legal Schnauzer, Richard Scrushy: Convictions In The Siegelman Case Are Grounded In A Former Aide's Flawed Testimony, Roger Shuler, April 8, 2013.  Bribery convictions in the Don Siegelman case are based almost entirely on an aide's testimony that he saw the former governor holding a $250,000 check after a meeting with then HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. That scenario, as described under oath by former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey, has a slight flaw--it never happened, according to a man who was central to the alleged transaction. Richard Scrushy, who was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence, says he never had such a meeting with Siegelman--and he never gave the governor a check. That is one of several major revelations from Scrushy's one-hour interview last Thursday with San Francisco-based radio host Peter B. Collins. It was Scrushy's first interview about the Siegelman case, and the podcast can be heard in its entirety here, at peterbcollins.com. Collins invited me to assist with the interview, and I was on the phone line to hear Scrushy describe the case against him and Siegelman as a "farce" and a "joke." 

Legal Schnauzer, Feds Promised To Release Scrushy From Prosecution If He Provided False Testimony Against Siegelman, Roger Shuler, April 9, 2013. Federal prosecutors offered to let Richard Scrushy out of the Don Siegelman case if he agreed to testify in a way that would "give" them the former Alabama governor. Scrushy, the former CEO of Birmingham-based HealthSouth Corporation, said prosecutors gave him several examples of testimony that would help ensure a bribery conviction against Siegelman. None of the proposed statements was truthful, Scrushy said, so he refused the offer. He wound up being convicted and was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence. Siegelman was released from custody for several years to pursue appeals, but returned to prison last September after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Legal Schnauzer, Richard Scrushy: Convictions In the Siegelman Case Are Grounded In A Former Aide's Flawed Testimony, Roger Shuler, April 8, 2013. Bribery convictions in the Don Siegelman case are based almost entirely on an aide's testimony that he saw the former governor holding a $250,000 check after a meeting with then HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. That scenario, as described under oath by former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey, has a slight flaw--it never happened, according to a man who was central to the alleged transaction. Richard Scrushy, who was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence, says he never had such a meeting with Siegelman -- and he never gave the governor a check. That is one of several major revelations from Scrushy's one-hour interview last Thursday with San Francisco-based radio host Peter B. Collins. It was Scrushy's first interview about the Siegelman case, and the podcast can be heard in its entirety at peterbcollins.com. Collins invited me to assist with the interview, and I was on the phone line to hear Scrushy describe the case against him and Siegelman as a "farce" and a "joke." In fact, Scrushy still can't seem to believe that it happened.  

Legal Schnauzer, Richard Scrushy's Tenacity Might Unearth Evidence Of Prosecutorial Corruption In The Siegelman Case, Roger Shuler, March 27, 2013. Richard Scrushy, codefendant in the political prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman, is one of the most controversial figures in modern Alabama history. He seems convinced that he was wrongly convicted, that a broken justice system punished him for a non crime, and he remains intent on proving it.