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Siegelman asks to be released from prison during appeal

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has asked a federal appeals court to order his release from prison while his conviction is being appealed.

Siegelman's attorneys filed an 80-page motion Friday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the former governor be released on bond while the court's judges consider his appeal.

The motion outlines issues Siegelman expects to argue in his appeal and says he has a good chance of having his conviction reversed.

Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy were convicted last year of bribery and other charges in a government corruption case.

Siegelman and Scrushy were sentenced on June 28 and immediately taken into custody. Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and is serving his sentence at the federal prison in Oakdale, La.

Scrushy was sentenced to
almost seven years and is in the federal prison in Beaumont, Texas. Scrushy's attorneys filed a motion asking that he be
released on an appeals bond shortly after the sentencing hearing.

Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted of charges that they participated in a scheme where Siegelman agreed to appoint Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in campaign donations to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery.

Former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey testified that Siegelman told him that Scrushy wanted a seat on the state Certificate of Need Review Board after a meeting between Scrushy and Siegelman in 1999.

The motion

But the motion, signed by Siegelman attorney Hiram Eastland, says prosecutors never proved that Siegelman offered Scrushy anything in exchange for a campaign donation.

"The government offered no testimony from anyone who attended a meeting or overheard a conversation between Scrushy and Governor Siegelman that would even remotely indicate that Governor Siegelman explicitly promised, expressly agreed to appoint Scrushy to the CON Board in exchange for Scrushy's $500,000 contribution," the motion says.

The motion also argues that Siegelman should be released during the appeal because "he does not present a flight risk or a danger to the community."

The motion says that Siegelman has been elected governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state in Alabama and has strong ties to the state.

"The government presented no evidence that Governor Siegelman is likely to flee or pose a danger to the community," the motion says.

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

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