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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Did Rob Riley Cash In On Siegelman Prosecution?

How much did the Riley family benefit from the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman? Let us count the ways.

We know that current Governor Bob Riley saw his path to re-election in 2006 become much more clear with Siegelman out of the way.

Now, thanks to the reporting of Sam Stein at The Huffington Post, we know the Riley family benefited in other ways. Birmingham lawyer Rob Riley, son of the Republican governor, made a nice chunk of change from a civil matter that ran parallel to the Siegelman criminal case.

On January 13, 2005, Rob Riley suddenly was added as local counsel on a massive lawsuit against HealthSouth and its former CEO, Richard Scrushy. Riley represented the New Mexico State Investment Council, a relatively new player at the time in the HealthSouth litigation.

At the same time the civil case was unfolding, Scrushy was co-defendant in the Siegelman criminal case. And that, Stein reports, is how Rob Riley stood to gain financially.

Riley's involvement in the class-action HealthSouth lawsuit is curious. His legal work has focused on medical malpractice, Stein reports, and he had little experience in complex securities litigation.

But Riley had something that proved to be more important--ties to U.S. Judge Mark Fuller, who was overseeing the Siegelman/Scrushy criminal case. Writes Stein:

"[Riley] very aggressively thrust himself into that suit as a late comer," said Scott Horton, a law professor at Columbia University who has written extensively on these issues for Harper's magazine. "He knew that Fuller had made statements suggesting that he felt he had once been a target of a politically motivated attack by Siegelman. He knew that this would make someone predisposed against Siegelman the perfect hanging judge. And he would reap the benefit of the class action suit on the side."

The Siegelman/Scrushy criminal case and the HealthSouth lawsuit intersected in May 2006. An investment banker testified in the criminal case that he had been pressured by HealthSouth to come up with $250,000 for Siegelman's education lottery fund.

Stein quotes two sources who say this revelation contributed to HealthSouth's decision to pay $445 million in the civil case, one of the largest settlements in securities-litigation history.

How much did Rob Riley benefit from this settlement? Writes Stein:

Riley declined to reveal what he made from the case, saying that the amount was "evolving." But he did acknowledge that it was substantial. "It was a very good settlement," he said. "But at the same time there was a lot of work that went into it."

Critics see it differently: Riley knew Scrushy was going down in the criminal trial and saw a way to reap the benefits in the separate civil case.

"Rob Riley approved of the strategy of dragging Scrushy into the [criminal] case because it would have benefits for him in the class action suit," said Horton. "It was clear that he was intently following what was going on in Fuller's court and knew that the conviction of Scrushy in that case would have strong benefits in the class action suit."

3 comments:

Mike Hale said...

Yes, an elite group has organized within the GOP. This elite group of high ranking state and federal government officials place their allegiance to their group above their allegiance to the Constitution of The United States.

The idea of this elite group evolved under Nixon, but it was not organized until Nixon's old cabinet and staff members returned to the White house in 2000 under Bush.

The rules to become a member are similar to the rules that organized crime use. Only top ranking Republican officials are approached. The majority of government officials are not included in this unique group, but in order to get campaign support/aid they must back the group in the way that they are told to vote, awarding contracts, spending, filibustering etc.

Before presidential appointments are made Bush demands that appointees pledge their allegiance to him and his elite group. This includes all heads of government (Department Secretaries, directors, judges, U.S. attorneys. etc.)

I believe that most of our U.S. congressional representatives in Alabama aren't part of this unique group, but several are being controlled by it. However, I can name a few federal attorneys, federal judges and a governor that have sold their souls to the devil trying to be inducted into this group.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, I think that this article is really pretty irrelevant. Here's the way I see it:

1. Everyone knows that Don Seigelman is a crook. He would have been prosecuted and convicted no matter who the lawyers were.
2. If he was going to be convicted anyway, then someone has to get the money. It was going to be a lawyer one way or another, why not Rob Riley?
3. Rob Riley is a lawyer/attorney. That means that he went to law school, passed his bar, and has other certifications. And that he can practice any kind of law that he likes, whether he has as much experience in the work or not. He has just as much right to be involved in the case as in other lawyer in the world.
4. You gotta admit, the Riley family does kinda deserve a little profit off of Don Seigelman. If you don't remember, the 2002 campaign was absolutely brutal. There were lies and false accusations flying all over the place, needless to say most of them coming from Seigelman's side. The insults weren't just aimed at Bob Riley either, but at the whole family. The Rileys took quite a beating, but still managed to pull through with grace.
5. It took a lot to beat Seigelman in 2002, and Rob Riley was right in the middle of it. A campaign like that is taxing on anybody involved, much less those people that are directly related to the candidate and also have a law practice and a family to look after at the same time. Seigelman kind of owes it to him, I'd say.
6. And why not Rob Riley? He is a very well known, extremely qualified and hard working lawyer. He was picked over all the attorneys in the area for those primary reasons. Having a dad who's the Governor of the state can't win you those qualifications. If people would look at the real Rob Riley, instead of just seeing him as the Governor's son, then I think they would realize that this article is nothing but hype.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon:

Any other love notes you want to send the Rileys' way?

Good grief, do you realize how ridiculous your comment sounds?

LS