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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Siegelman verdict needs further review

A federal appeals court needs to review the trials of former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy because of an e-mail issue.

While U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller heard some evidence that jurors in the Montgomery trial may have communicated by e-mail, he may not have gotten to the truth.

One juror raised the issue months ago. The judge did hear from the juror, then asked all 12 if outside material influenced their final verdict. They said it didn't.

But he didn't pry deep enough into the e-mail issue to determine if jurors violated his instruction not to discuss the case among themselves. The judge ruled Wednesday against a new trial for the pair.

The jury in June convicted Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy on bribery and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors said the former HealthSouth executive arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's lottery campaign in exchange for an appointment to a seat on an influential hospital regulatory board.

Mr. Scrushy and Mr. Siegelman may be guilty, but the greater concern is the partisan overtones surrounding the case.

Star Chamber justice went out in the 1600s.

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