A respected Democratic political leader and a former health care business owner who were scalped by the Rove Republican Racket are seeking vindication from the political persecution they suffered during the Rove Bush Cheney years. The Birmingham News reports tonight:
Former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today to toss out all charges against them, arguing that money Scrushy gave Siegelman's 1999 lottery campaign could not be considered a bribe. The U.S. Supreme Court in June sent the case back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to review in the wake of a recent order from the high court limiting the use of the "honest services" fraud statute in public corruption cases.
The Supreme Court in a case involving disgraced Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling curtailed prosecutors' use of the honest services fraud statute, saying it can be applied only in cases involving bribes or kickbacks. A jury convicted Scrushy and Siegelman on charges that Scrushy bribed Siegelman for a seat on the state Certificate of Need Review Board with $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's lottery campaign.
Lawyers for Siegelman and Scrushy wrote in their court filings that there is a significant difference between giving money to someone personally and giving money to an issue advocacy campaign. "Siegelman was not paid anything. The prototypical bribe involves a pay-off," lawyers for Scrushy wrote. "The Eleventh Circuit should dismiss all charges against Governor Siegelman, based on Skilling. That would be the correct legal outcome, based on the law as the Supreme Court has explained it," Siegelman lawyer Sam Heldman said this evening.