Next Stop: The Federal Pen
A federal judge in Montgomery has denied a new trial for former Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy, putting the two a step closer to sentencing.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller said in his ruling that he determined some of the jurors who convicted Siegelman and Scrushy of bribery and conspiracy in June did not obey his instructions.
Two jurors admitted in a special hearing that they printed a copy of an unredacted indictment to study at home, and the jury foreman said he looked up information on the Internet on being a foreman. Both were violations of Fuller’s directive.
However, Fuller said in his ruling Wednesday that he found that the jurors’ actions did not rise to the level of juror misconduct when compared with the evidence prosecutors used to convict Siegelman and Scrushy.
Fuller also determined that the two jurors’ exposure to the indictment that did not have two counts redacted was minor compared with the rest of the trial.
I note this so that I can toot my own horn, having already predicted the outcome.
Of course, the defense attorneys are trying to remain optimistic:
“We are deeply disappointed with today’s ruling,” Art Leach, lead attorney for Scrushy, said in a statement. “Once we are able to take Richard’s case to the 11th Circuit (of the U.S. Court of Appeals), we are confident that all these issues will be thoroughly considered and Richard Scrushy will be completely vindicated.”
Siegelman attorney Vince Kilborn said Wednesday’s ruling was not the end of the case.
“The fat lady ain’t sang yet,” he said. “We’re getting a new trial. If the 11th Circuit doesn’t give it to us, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to give it to us. I’m confident that Governor Siegelman is going to get a new trial.”
Sorry guys, but your clients better start packing. Obviously I was not there for the trial, but I have not heard anything yet that will get them anything close to a new trial.
As for how long they’ll be gone, the government is estimating a sentence of ten years. The sentencing guidelines are extremely fact intensive, so I can’t comment on that other than to note that the defendants have been such pains in the butt, and the case is so high profile, that I don’t expect them to get any mercy at sentencing.