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Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Is Headed Back To Jail

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Dave Martin
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.

It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:

"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

"Before his sentencing that his lawyer called 'cruel and unusual,' the 66-year-old Siegelman told a judge that he 'deeply regrets' the things he has done."

According to The Birmingham News, the sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who originally sentenced Siegelman, was 10 months less than the original one. Fuller also gave Siegelman credit for the 9 months he had already served.

The News recounts the scene in the courtroom:

"As Fuller pronounced sentence on Siegelman, his children, Dana and Joseph, broke into tears. As they put their faces in their hands and wept, the mother put her arms around them.

"Siegelman embraced each of his attorneys and thanked them for their help. He went to try to comfort his family, then shook hands and hugged supporters, some of whom offered words of encouragement, some of sorrow."

The AP reports that Fuller said he understood that Siegelman had done good things, but he "said they did not justify the crimes for which he was convicted."

He said Seigelman — who took the bribe — deserved to serve as much time as the man who paid the bribe.

Siegelman is free until Sept. 11 when he is supposed to turn himself in.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.