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June 24, 2007

Upcoming sentencing that sounds like Pelican Brief sequel

200pxpelican_brief_dvd This article from Alabama discusses a high-profile sentencing scheduled for this Tuesday that has a Grisham-like backstory:

Sentencing for former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth Chairman Richard Scrushy will happen as scheduled this week despite charges of a conspiracy against the two that reportedly has ties to the White House.

The accusations involving White House adviser Karl Rove and others have been lodged by Rainsville lawyer Jill Simpson, a lifelong Republican.  She said last week that she is the source of information that attorneys representing Scrushy used in an effort to remove the federal judge overseeing the sentencing. Scrushy's attorneys have argued that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller has a conflict of interest in the case. 

Attorneys have been unsuccessful in having Fuller removed.  As a result, the sentencing hearing begins Tuesday in Montgomery.  The 43-year-old Simpson previously released an affidavit that outlines a grand conspiracy to get Siegelman, a Democrat, by the George Bush White House.  She also states the conspiracy involves the Department of Justice, a U.S. attorney's husband in Montgomery, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice, and the lawyer son of Gov. Bob Riley.  Riley stopped Siegelman's re-election bid in 2002 by the narrowest margin ever in Alabama.

The information Simpson supplied involved Fuller's investment in a major government contractor. She said that resulted in Fuller's needing to play ball with federal prosecutors who were trying to put Scrushy and Siegelman in jail so the firm could continue getting major contracts.  Siegelman"I hope these result in a new trial for Mr. Scrushy,'' Simpson said she told attorneys. Scrushy's attorney filed sealed information about Fuller, but it was later unsealed. Fuller remains on the case.

"She called me and let me know she was the source of the information,'' said Louis Franklin, the assistant U.S. Attorney and chief prosecutor in the Scrushy-Siegelman case. "I can't subscribe a motive, but my own personal feelings were they're trying to have a reverse impact on Judge Fuller, making him more reserved in sentencing and he'd be lenient.''

June 24, 2007 at 09:09 AM | Permalink

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