The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 20, 2013

Siegelman's daughter fights to free her dad

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— The daughter of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman says there is only one more day to free her father from federal prison for what she and others believe was a political prosecution.

Dana Siegelman has been tirelessly fundraising and lobbying to get her father freed through a pardon by President Barrack Obama. More than 100 attorneys general have written President Obama asking for clemency for Siegelman.

Dana said the pardon, if it occurs, would likely come before Obama is inaugurated Monday. She would like people to go online to sign a petition asking the president to pardon her father. The address is http://donsiegelman.org/index.html.

Siegelman, 66, who served as Alabama’s governor from 1999 to 2003, was convicted on charges of bribery and mail fraud and has served four months of his 7-year sentence that began in Sept. 11, 2012. Former HealthSouth Chief Executive Officer Richard Scrushy was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman’s campaign for a state lottery for universal education (free college for Alabama students) in exchange for giving Scrushy an unpaid seat on a state hospital regulatory board.

Scrushy, who had served on the state hospital regulatory board over the past three Republican administrations, had recently been acquitted of charges of securities fraud for his part in the HealthSouth Corp. Scrushy has already served his sentence and been released.

Dana and others believe Siegelman was convicted due to politics, judicial misconduct and conflicts of interest. They say he did not personally gain from Scrushy’s contribution and that Siegelman is a victim of a witch hunt by former senior White House aide Karl Rove, the Bush Justice Department, and Mississippi Indian casinos represented by Jack Abramoff who opposed the lottery.