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Don Siegelman writing a book about his career

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is writing a book that he says will tell the whole story of his political career — both the good and bad of 20 years in office and the corruption probe that ended with his conviction on bribery and obstruction of justice charges.

Siegelman, who said he expects to be sentenced to a prison term by a federal judge in the next couple of months, has e-mailed friends and former associates asking them to send him stories about how his actions "in public service personally affected your life."

"This is going to be more than just an account of my political life. I want it to be something people will actually read," Siegelman said in an interview Friday.

He said the book will include his thoughts on the lengthy state and federal investigation of his terms as governor and lieutenant governor that led to charges being filed against him in Birmingham and Montgomery. The charges were dismissed in the Birmingham case, but he was convicted last year, along with former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, by a federal court jury in the capital.

Siegelman, a Democrat, said he believes the investigation was part of a partisan conspiracy by some Republicans to destroy his political career. Prosecutors have said Siegelman ran the governor's office as a criminal enterprise and that politics had nothing to do with the investigation or conviction.

He said the court cases have cost him about $2 million in legal fees and the bill likely will rise to between $2.5 million and $3 million before the appeals process is completed.

He and Scrushy have both said they plan to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta after they are sentenced.

Siegelman and Scrushy have also said they will ask the judge to delay sending them to prison until the appeals process is complete.

Siegelman said he decided to ask for the public's help in researching the book because of the large number of people he meets who want to talk about something that happened during his terms as secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor.

"I run into people all the time that I don't even know who tell me about the time their grandfather was trying to get on disability and he saw me at a campaign event and asked me to help. Those are the kinds of stories I'm looking for," the former governor said.

Siegelman said he has enjoyed researching the book.

"I have been going through records and archives and looking at old photographs, recalling many of the people I have met," he said.

Siegelman said he does not have a publisher for the book at this time.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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