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Ex-governor, HealthSouth's Scrushy sentenced

June 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, ALA. — Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison and former HealthSouth Chief Executive Richard Scrushy got nearly seven years Thursday in a bribery and corruption case that the judge said damaged public trust in state government.

Siegelman was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000, plus $181,325 to a state agency where prosecutors said kickbacks were made. He is to perform 500 hours of community service when his sentence of seven years and four months is completed.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller heard tearful testimony from Scrushy's wife, Leslie, who described him as "the rock of our family." Scrushy also introduced the judge to his nine children.

Scrushy's attorney, Carmen Hernandez, asked Fuller to give her client a lenient sentence, saying Scrushy did not benefit personally from the scheme in which prosecutors say Siegelman appointed him to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's lottery campaign.

Scrushy was fired from HealthSouth Corp., which he founded in the early 1980s, when a $1.7-billion accounting scandal was uncovered, but he was acquitted of federal criminal charges in the fraud in 2005.

Siegelman, a Democrat who was elected governor in 1998, also had criminal charges against him dismissed after a federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., struck down key evidence in an alleged Medicaid fraud case.

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