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Richard Scrushy, former HealthSouth CEO who was convicted of bribing former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and served about 6 years in federal prison, gives some new dimensions to the sordid story we’ve covered for many years in this exclusive interview, co-anchored with Roger Shuler of Legal Schnauzer.Scrushy’s rags-to-riches story includes founding and being CEO of HealthSouth, which he built into a giant in its field. In this in-depth interview, he offers his view of the controversial case that sent him and former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman to federal prison. This is the first media interview he has given since being released last summer.
[For background, search “Siegelman” at peterbcollins.com, and you will find many podcasts on this case. And there are many posts by Roger Shuler here.]
In response to questions from PBC and Roger Shuler, Scrushy is candid and credible, as he explains his version of the events of the Scrushy/Siegelman case. He refutes the prosecution’s case in many key respects, and declares that he and Siegelman are innocent–and that he wants to see Siegelman released from prison pronto.
Some of the aspects we cover:
–both men were first indicted in 2004 in separate cases in Birmingham; Siegelman’s charges were dropped and Scrushy was acquitted on all counts in 2005
–later in 2005, both men were indicted for alleged bribery
–prosecutors had ties to Karl Rove, and Rove got a “2-fer” in going after Siegelman and Scrushy
–Scrushy had not been a Siegelman supporter, but was asked to rejoin a state health care commission that he had twice served on before–but not directly by the Governor
–Scrushy agreed to give $250,000 (not $500,000 as asserted by the prosecution) to pay down the debt from a failed campaign to pass a state lottery, but was never solicited by Siegelman
–Scrushy was offered a “pass” by prosecutors if he would falsely testify against Siegelman, and he refused
–Scrushy regrets that he did not take the witness stand, but his lawyers felt the government had not proved any charges
–Scrushy had never met star witness Nick Bailey, and rips his testimony as full of inaccuracies, especially regarding the check delivered by Scrushy
–he comments on the murky story of Judge Mark Fuller, and how Senators Shelby and Sessions abandoned him despite his years of support
–he has filed an appeal to force disclosure of emails and other documents related to misconduct by prosecutors and the judge, hoping to clear his name and win release for Siegelman
–Scrushy only got to know Siegelman after they were convicted, when they shared a cell for 2 weeks at a federal prison near Atlanta