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Feds urge no prison time for former Siegelman aide

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Federal prosecutors have recommend no prison time for Nick Bailey, the former aide to Don Siegelman who admitted taking bribes and other crooked dealings in state government when he testified against the former governor.

Siegelman is serving a seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Louisiana. Prosecutors, who originally recommended a 30-year sentence for Siegelman, asked a federal judge Tuesday to show leniency to Bailey, who is scheduled to begin an 18-month federal prison sentence next week.

Prosecutors filed a motion Tuesday asking U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller to commute Bailey’s sentence to 12 months, and to allow him to serve that sentence under home confinement and not in a federal prison.

Siegelman lawyers, who had argued during the trial that Bailey was a crook lying about Siegelman to get a reduced sentence for himself, said Wednesday the prosecutors’ recommendation was deplorable.

‘Get-out-of-jail pass’

“You get a guy like Nick who legitimately committed enough crimes to send him to prison and you give him a get-out-of-jail pass,” defense attorney David McDonald said.

Chief prosecutor Louis Franklin said the leniency is justified because Bailey has cooperated with federal investigators for years and provided the key testimony against Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, who is serving an almost seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas.

Fuller has not indicated when he will rule on the prosecutors’ request for leniency for Bailey.

Defense lawyers argued there was no quid-pro-quo or personal gain for Siegelman or Scrushy and that no witness corroborated Bailey’s account.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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