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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feds Promised To Release Scrushy From Prosecution If He Provided False Testimony Against Siegelman

Richard and Leslie Scrushy
Federal prosecutors offered to let Richard Scrushy out of the Don Siegelman case if he agreed to testify in a way that would "give" them the former Alabama governor.

Scrushy, the former CEO of Birmingham-based HealthSouth Corporation, said prosecutors gave him several examples of testimony that would help ensure a bribery conviction against Siegelman. None of the proposed statements was truthful, Scrushy said, so he refused the offer. He wound up being convicted and was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence. Siegelman was released from custody for several years to pursue appeals, but returned to prison last September after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

The latest revelations in the Siegelman saga came during Scrushy's interview last Thursday with San Francisco-based radio host Peter B. Collins. A one-hour podcast of the interview, Scrushy's first on the Siegelman case, can be heard in its entirety at peterbcollins.com. The former CEO, now a resident of Houston, Texas, makes it clear that prosecutors were willing to trample criminal procedure and simple rules of fair play in an effort to gain a conviction against Siegelman. Their tactics included a blatant effort to coerce false testimony from Scrushy, who was Siegelman's codefendant.

Scrushy called the case against him and Siegelman--and the actions of prosecutors--a "total farce, a total fraud." Perhaps nothing was more fraudulent than prosecutors' efforts to pressure Scrushy into concocting testimony that would amount to a quid pro quo ("something for something" deal) that is central to a federal bribery case, in the context of a campaign contribution.

The testimony that prosecutors wanted had a slight problem, Srushy said; he and Siegelman did not have a "something for something" deal. In fact, Scrushy repeatedly said during the Peter B. Collins interview that he did not want the Certificate of Need Board (CON) appointment for which he supposedly bribed Siegelman. Here is Scrushy from the Peter B. Collins interview:

I found myself in a conversation with my attorney, and he had prosecutors on the other line, and they said, "If Richard will give us the governor, we’ll let Richard out." They gave me four or five scenarios, and my lawyer said to go home and think about it. I said, “This isn’t going to take much time. I can’t see me sitting on a stand and swearing this man did something wrong when he didn’t do anything wrong."

Scrushy did go home and discuss the matter with his wife, Leslie. But she apparently could not believe that officials who are sworn to uphold the law would make such a proposal:

I went home to discuss it with my wife and said, “Leslie, honey, what do you think?” And she said, "You’re not going to lie on him are you?" And I said, "No, I’m not a snitch. I'm not going to say he did something that he didn’t do." So I called them back and said no, we’ll go to trial. I couldn’t believe they would find us guilty because we didn’t do anything wrong, and there was no evidence that we did anything wrong."

Despite the weak evidence against them, Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted--and Scrushy wound up with a graduate-level education in the way America's broken justice system really works. It all was driven, Scrushy says, by Bush White House strategist Karl Rove and his plan to eliminate prominent Democrats, especially in Republican strongholds such as Alabama:

There's no doubt Karl Rove wanted the governor. If I had been willing to do what they asked me to do and say things they wanted me to say, I would have walked out and I wouldn’t have gone to prison. I didn’t know Governor Siegelman that well, but I couldn’t get up and say the things they asked me to say because they were not true. To know he’s got two children and a wife . . . I couldn’t wake up every day the rest of my life and say, “Richard Scrushy, you are a liar and you know you put that man in prison.” I’m not going to do that.

Scrushy took a principled stand, but he paid a huge personal price. Meanwhile those who did testify against Siegelman, such as former aide Nick Bailey, received reduced sentences after pleading guilty to federal crimes. Said Scrushy:

I would rather spend five or six years in prison myself. My wife and kids suffered greatly. And I was in a horrible place, a place no man wants to go. But I feel better about myself. These other people put [Siegelman] in prison. He shouldn’t be in prison today. He was innocent. There was no corruption, no bribery.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

There is zero doubt in my mind that Mark Fuller is as corrupt as they come. Local paper refused to publish anything about Fuller's personal life misadventures as they did with another female judge who was accused of acting improperly in a divorce case involving McGregor's daughter if memory serves. They ran stories and links for months until she finally resigned.

Anonymous said...

This might be the most sickening thing I've ever read. These public prosecutors, funded with my taxpayer dollars, try to force one citizen to lie in order to gain a "conviction" against another citizen. Gross, gross, gross!

Anonymous said...

Judicial corruption and coerced testimony are practiced at the state and municipal levels as well. It is no less damaging to the untold number of victims. Too bad Obama didn't try to reform the DOJ and start prosecuting theses corrupt Judges and attorneys at all levels. I guess the reform would have been too big of an undertaking...

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:01--

Your comment is interesting because, if you listen to the full Scrushy interview, he describes what happened in the Siegelman case as "sick." This is from one of the guys who lived it.

Spasmoda said...

Ross Perot used to talk about the "giant sucking sound" of our jobs going to Mexico. That "giant crumbling sound" you hear now is our democracy falling apart in the wake of the Siegeman/Scrushy case.

Sharon said...

Why are these prosecutors not treated as criminals? What they did is a crime, isn't it? Sure sounds like one to me.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, the feds coached Nick Bailey to the nth degree, and they tried their damnedest to coach Richard Scrushy. But we are supposed to believe the Siegelman case was conducted in an honorable manner? Horse crap.

legalschnauzer said...


I would argue that the prosecutors' actions with Scrushy constitute attempted subornation of perjury. Their actions with Nick Bailey constitute actual subornation of perjury. You are absolutely correct to suggest that the Siegelman/Scrushy trial was orchestrated by criminals. And that doesn't even count Judge Mark Fuller.

Anonymous said...

I would love to have a tape recording of that conversation between prosecutors and Scushy's lawyer. I also would love to know precisely which prosecutor presented these "4-5 scenarios." It sounds like something that weasel Steve Feaga would do. I assume Art Leach was the Scrushy lawyer on the line?

legalschnauzer said...

BTW, for those interested in learning more about subornation of perjury, here is some good info from Wikipedia:


legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:18--

I agree that the acts described by Scrushy sound like something Steve Feaga might do. My understanding is that it's pretty well established that Feaga was the lead "coach" for Nick Bailey. Stands to reason that he would try to play a similar role with Scrushy. And yes, I agree that Art Leach likely was the Scrushy lawyer on the other end of the line. Not sure how he kept from vomiting when he heard this garbage from Feaga.

Anonymous said...

Well, this confirms that the Siegelman/Scrushy case was a political prosecution. They were going after the politician (Siegelman), not the businessman (Scrushy). Scrushy got punished because he refused to play the game by the feds twisted rules.

TLR said...

I would love to know exactly the various "scenarios" that feds presented for Scrushy's consideration--none of which were based in fact. Scrushy is correct to call this whole process a farce.

Anonymous said...

The MSM won't touch this story, but it should be on the front page of every newspaper in U.S. tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors did the exact same thing in the Bingo trial. Unfortunately Ronnie Gilley decided to "roll" on McGregor. Fortunately it was caught on tape involving a phone call from the jail to Ronnie's then wife Diedra. It is disgusting how unjust our judicial department is.

Anonymous said...

"Eric Holder, please report to the customer service desk . . .

"I repeat, Eric Holder, to the customer service deak . . . "

Anonymous said...

What's that they say about sausage. It's one thing to enjoy eating it, but you never want to see it being made.

Same thing with American "justice."

Anonymous said...

Karl Rove probably wanted the Governor more ways that one..

Anonymous said...

Ronnie Gilley decided to play corrupt games with the feds . . .

As Dr. Phil would say, "And how . . . is that . . . working out . . . for you?"

legalschnauzer said...

Eric Holder? That name sounds vaguely familiar.

Anonymous said...

Man: Someone call the Justice Department

Woman: What is it?

Man: It's a big building with lots of lawyers. But that's not important right now.

jeffrey spruill said...

It's good to see Richard Scrushy ain't no rat.

When I was in federal prison you could aways tell who was ratting because they would be walking around the track with their chest all stuck out & then one day the marshals:


would pull to the FCI to pick them up.

As they're leaving they state: "I have to go back to court for some unfinished business."

These cowards think the feds respect their snitching when in fact they're disgusting human garbage.

Anonymous said...

I hope the prosecutors in AL and the 11th are learning something from recent events in Tx. If not, there will be no sympathy and actually the opposite if that happens to them. The choice seems rather simple, do the dirty work of nazi neocons or face a bigger wrath from the people? These nazi thugs could learn something about integrity from Scrushy. We should all thank Scrushy for going after it! What he's doing is the only way to defeat this circus act without resorting to violence. Hopefully the later won't be necessary and the point will received well! Good luck to Scrushy and Seigleman!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:57--

By "recent events in Tx," I assume you are referring to the shooting deaths of multiple prosecutors in Texas? Last time I checked, there still are no solid leads on those cases.

I agree with you that judges, prosecutors, and lawyers might want to give a few second thoughts to the abusive treatment they have been heaping on numerous citizens.

We don't know that the prosecutors in Texas had abused anyone; perhaps they were doing their jobs in a professional manner. But that definitely is not the case with quite a few "legal professionals," as Scrushy's statements show. These thugs should not be surprised if some citizens turn to the use of weapons, when that seems like the last resort.

We are a nation that trumpets "Second Amendment solutions." Pushing law-abiding citizens to the limit might not be such a smart idea.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:53--

It surely sounds like someone is a fan of "Airplane!"

Anonymous said...

Agreed LS! Now if only the "republicans" in this state could finally get that they've been duped! On second thought, dunno. That could get ugly. They are pretty pissed right now. But hell, so are many dems.

Anonymous said...

Richard Scrushy needs to go on a speaking tour of college campuses to tell students all about his experiences under our "justice system." We won't get this fixed without the energy and commitment of young people.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am a fan of "Airplane!"

And don't call me "Shirley."

Anonymous said...

This is 10:57 and yes that's exactly what I was referring to. Although I must say that the is a far greater probability that the Tx DA was corrupt than not. If we think our system is bad in AL then consider that in Tx size! It's bad out there. Bush made sure he jacked that state up! As governor W's favorite thing to do was deny clemency to death row inmates who had been wrongly convicted and as with many cases set up. Media covered that to the point of proving innocence of several people and bush still let them die. It was rather shocking to see him become president. He wasn't well liked in Tx though!

legalschnauzer said...

My guess, too, is that the TX DA was corrupt, although I doubt that ever will be investigated.

Anonymous said...

LS, you and Peter B. Collins might have broken the justice story of the year so far. Props to both of you--and to Richard Scrushy, for speaking some hard truths to Americans who need to hear them.

Anonymous said...

Leura Canary, Steve Feaga, and Louis Franklin need to be wearing orange jumpsuits.

Same with Bill Canary, Bob Riley, Rob Riley, Karl Rove, and . . . well, you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

And some of those death row inmates were women! Bush just loves women jk! I'm rather surprised most folks don't know that he was abusive towards Laura when he was drunk and on cocaine all the time. He's a class act! But then what do you expect from the Spawn of Satan!

Anonymous said...

Let me rephrase most all of those who were innocent and put to death were women! Large celebrity crowd led by Bianca Jagger gathered outside the prisons on nights they were put to death. It was covered locally but never nationally.

Anonymous said...

Why would the prosecutors' actions with Scrushy (and Bailey) not be obstruction of justice?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 12:56--

You might have a point with that one. I think it's a bit murky because my understanding is that obstruction usually involves someone external to the justice process acting in a corrupt manner. Not sure it fits insiders, such as prosecutors. But I might be mistaken about that. Here is a good piece on obstruction:


legalschnauzer said...

Key information about obstruction of justice, from Legal Dictionary:

To obtain a conviction under section 1503, the government must prove that there was a pending federal judicial proceeding, the defendant knew of the proceeding, and the defendant had corrupt intent to interfere with or attempted to interfere with the proceeding.

Two types of cases arise under the Omnibus Clause: the concealment, alteration, or destruction of documents; and the encouraging or rendering of false testimony. Actual obstruction is not needed as an element of proof to sustain a conviction. The defendant's endeavor to obstruct justice is sufficient. "Endeavor" has been defined by the courts as an effort to accomplish the purpose the statute was enacted to prevent. The courts have consistently held that "endeavor" constitutes a lesser threshold of purposeful activity than a criminal "attempt."

Anonymous said...

Big question now: Will the Eleventh Circuit make this right or continue to sweep things under the rug?

Richard Scrushy now is out of prison and has a voice. Will that be a game changer?

Esther Davis said...

You're leaving out a very important player in Siegelman's case: Attorney General Bill Pryor. He's the one who started the whole thing. Siegelman wanted to collect damage money from Big Tobacco, Pryor took the side of the tobacco company for obvious reason (money) costing the state millions of much needed money. Siegelman call
ed him on it. He became Siegelman's enemy at that point & never forgot. When the Canary's & Rove presented him with their lies & trumped up charges of bribery against Siegelman, Pryor jumped on it like a chicken on a June bug...and the rest is history. Pryor now sits on the 11the Court of Appeal. Even though he recused himself when Siegelman took his case before them, there is no doubt that he convinced the other judges to rule against him. Siegelman's fate was sealed from the beginning.

jeffrey spruill said...

Richard Scrushy says Karl Rove wanted the governor.

Well I want Karl Rove's lardy bald headed butt now:

Dear Mr. Spruill:

Thank you for your e-mail expressing your support for prosecuting Karl Rove. I appreciate you apprising me of your views on this issue.

Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as this issue comes before me. Please feel free to contact me in the future on other issues which may be of concern to you.

Very truly yours,


Member of Congress

I know a thing or two about Karl Rove's criminality & his connection with Jay Sekulow's ACLJ & how Sekulow won his case against NOW:

Published: May 9, 2001

NOW works for all women, even cranky columnists

Goodness, such a diatribe from Kerry Dougherty (``Feminist bigotry is an insult to Bush appointees,'' May 3). I am accused of begrudgery, whining, not thinking before I speak, being part of a combat-boot crowd and a band of bigots, being demeaning, mean and a former flight attendant.

All this because Ms. Dougherty misunderstood my saying that I always knew if we kicked doors of opportunity open, some of the women who walked through would be women I disagreed with.

The point that apparently went over Ms. Dougherty's head is that I have worked, and continue to work, to open doors for all women, even easily inflamed and cranky columnists.

The National Organization for Women has acknowledged the many women appointed to high-level positions in the Bush administration and noted, especially, the breakthrough relationship to the president of his trusted adviser Karen Hughes.

NOW, the women's rights movement, along with the elected and appointed women, grandmothers, mothers and fathers that Ms. Dougherty cites - all of us together have played our respective roles in improving the lives and opportunities of women.

Patricia Ireland
President, NOW
Washington, D.C.


barry crimm said...

Outrageous, but nothing more than business as usual for the DOJ.