Testimony unveiled in corruption case against former Alabama governor | VailDaily.com

Testimony unveiled in corruption case against former Alabama governor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Former Gov. Don Siegelman’s executive secretary told a grand jury that his boss wanted $500,000 from former HealthSouth Chairman Richard Scrushy, who wanted a position on a state health panel in return.A federal judge on Friday unsealed several documents in the criminal case against Siegelman, Scrushy and two former members of the Democrat’s Cabinet. Defense attorneys did not object.One document is a transcript of Nick Bailey’s grand jury testimony in 2004. Bailey pleaded guilty in 2003 to taking bribes while working for Siegelman and is now cooperating with prosecutors.He testified that Scrushy had supported Siegelman’s opponent, Republican incumbent Fob James, in the 1998 race for governor, and that to smooth over their differences, Siegelman wanted $500,000 in contributions to his campaign to legalize a state lottery. Bailey said Siegelman arrived at the figure by calculating that Scrushy had raised $350,000 for James and then added interest to it.Bailey recalled speaking to Siegelman after he and Scrushy met privately at the Capitol after Siegelman won the election.”I recall him saying, ‘He’s halfway there,’ and showed me a check that he had made as a contribution to our lottery campaign,” Bailey said.Bailey said he asked Sieglman, “What in the world is he going to want for that? I think the governor’s response was, ‘The CON Board.”‘The Certificate of Need Review Board, or CON board, has to approve major hospital construction projects in the state.Bailey testified that at Siegelman’s recommendation, Scrushy became vice chairman of the board.The indictment against Siegelman and Scrushy accuses Scrushy of arranging $500,000 in two $250,000 donations to Siegelman’s lottery campaign in return for influence on the CON board.After a court hearing Friday, Siegelman and Scrushy both proclaimed their innocence, and Scrushy predicted that federal prosecutors “are going to be embarrassed” at trial.Scrushy was acquitted in June of involvement in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud scheme at HealthSouth clinics.VAIL, COLORADO

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