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Judge cuts Siegelman's restitution

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — A federal judge ruled Monday that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman does not have to pay $181,325 in restitution to a state agency as part of his punishment in a government corruption case.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller said he ordered restitution based on money the state lost in a bogus warehouse deal when Siegelman was governor.

But since Siegelman was acquitted by a jury on charges related to the warehouse deal, he did not have to pay the restitution, the judge said.

The jury convicted Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on bribery and related charges.

Removing the more than $181,000 in restitution significantly reduces the monetary penalty levied against Siegelman, 61, who was also fined $50,000. Scrushy, 54, was fined $150,000 and ordered to pay $267,000 in restitution.

Kilborn said Siegelman is in good spirits at the Atlanta federal prison and is spending much of his time exercising.

"He did 815 push-ups yesterday," Kilborn said. "His spirits are good, particularly considering where he is."

Fuller, in his order Monday, also denied a motion by prosecutors that he increase the length of Siegelman's prison sentence, if the former governor is not required to pay restitution.

During the sentencing hearing last month, Fuller said he was allowed to use the warehouse deal and other acquitted charges against Siegelman in determining a sentence. Fuller said in Monday's order that acquitted offenses can be used in determining a sentence, but not in ordering restitution.

Siegelman formally filed notice Monday in federal court in Montgomery that he is appealing his conviction and prison sentence to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorneys for Scrushy have said he also would appeal.

Chief prosecutor Louis Franklin said his office is still considering whether to appeal the sentences given Siegelman and Scrushy as being too lenient. He said the restitution issue could be included if prosecutors appeal the sentence.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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