By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Only one Democrat has been elected Governor of Alabama since George C Wallace’s last term, and that Governor, Don Seigelman, is presently a prisoner of the federal government at their prison facility in Oakdale, Louisiana. That all could end……soon. Today, former Governor Seigelman is in the Montgomery County Jail awaiting a bond hearing on Monday, December 15 in Judge Clay Land’s court room.
Seigelman’s case has been reassigned to Land after Judge Mark Fuller, who sentenced Seigelman to 78 months in a federal prison, was arrested for beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel.
Don Seigelman wrote in an email to supporters, “First of all it is positive that this new judge wants to SEE me. Look, I tell my inmate friends, I have a new lawyer, new issues and a new judge. . . .Then I explain that I’ve got three other possible issues that could come before this new judge, all to be heard in less than a month, on January 13th. . . . So even if I am not released, we will have met. It’s all positive, one way or the other.”
Gov. Seigelman’s attorney is Jeffrey C. Duffey. Oral arguments in Seigelman’s appeal are set for January 13. His defense team is asking that Seigelman be released on bond while the Court hears his appeal.
In 2006 a jury found that Don Siegelman was guilty of bribery in exchange for selling then Health South CEO Richard Scrushy a seat on the hospital regulatory board that issues Certificates of Needs to allow new hospitals to be built. Scrushy needed the CON to build the digital hospital on Highway 280 near the I-459 intersection (Healthsouth has since sold the digital hospital to Trinity who is attempting to finish the project). In exchange prosecutors argued that Scrushy donated to Gov. Siegelman’s failed 1999 campaign to push a state lottery to voters. Siegelman was also convicted of obstruction of justice.
Seigelman has been transported from the Oakdale Federal Prison to the Montgomery County Jail.
Chip Hill and Don’s brother, Les, reportedly visited Gov. Seigelman in jail.
Chip Hill wrote in a statement on Facebook, “Governor Siegelman’s brother Les and I just completed a visit with him at the Montgomery County Jail. He asked that I convey the following information: He said it is very important that Monday there MUST NOT be any type public demonstrations and/or outbursts of any kind – no stickers, posters, signs, etc.” Gov. Seigelman is asking supporters to be respectful and quiet.
Seigelman reportedly will be, “Entering the courtroom in jumpsuit and shackles from the prisoner dock on the side of the room. There will be no entrance for him from any public venue. He stressed that we have no reason to assume that he will released and should be prepared for either scenario.”
Chip Hill wrote that, “The trip to Montgomery was long and tortuous for him (Governor Seigelman). He traveled some 12 hours by bus and another 7 hours by plane over the course of 10 days – all while shackled hand, waist, and foot. This nightmare continues as we pray for justice Monday and ultimate justification at the appellate hearing in January.”
Seigelman’s daughter Dana, who has championed the former Governor’s cause won’t be able to see him because she is unable to travel due to a serious accident.
Seigelman wrote that he is hopeful about the future outcome of his case, but that his future, “Is in the hands of my lawyers, the judges of the 11th circuit…ultimately Judge Land will make many of the critical decisions which will decide the course of my life . . .”
Don Seigelman defeated Governor Fob James (R) in 1998, before narrowly losing re-election to then Congressman Bob Riley (R from Ashland). Gov. Seigelman ran for Governor again in 2002, but was defeated in the Democratic Primary (while under indictment) by Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley (D). Seigelman was also Lt. Governor from 1995 to1999, Attorney General from 1987 to 1991, and Alabama Secretary of State from 1979 to 1987.
If Seigelman loses his appeal it is believed that he will remain a federal prisoner until June, 2018.
Gov. Seigelman last reported to prison in September 2012. Judge Fuller reduced Seigelman’s sentence by ten months after his previous appeals were denied.