Friday, June 29, 2007
It took a few days of hearings before Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller finally sentenced former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to prison for their convictions on conspiracy and corruption charges. Although the government sought sentences of twenty-five and thirty years for the two, Scrushy received a sentence of nearly seven years (82 months), and Siegelman was sentenced to a bit more than seven years in prison (88 months). Both men testified at the sentencing hearing, requesting mercy from the court.
While the sentences were lower than the prosecutor's recommendation, Judge Fuller ordered the defendants taken into custody immediately to begin serving their terms, denying requests for bail pending appeal. In white collar crime cases, it is much more common for a defendant to be given a reporting date -- usually a few weeks out -- so that the Bureau of Prisons is ready to process the person to the facility where the sentence will be served. By having them placed in custody immediately, Scrushy and Siegelman will likely be held in a facility temporarily until assigned to a prison, a process that can take weeks -- or, as Jamie Olis learned the hard way, even months. Defense counsel for each is likely to file a petition for bail pending appeal with the Eleventh Circuit, but even that process, while expedited, can take weeks and the prospects for success are cloudy at best.
Scrushy and Siegelman have vowed to appeal, and given how hard-fought the case has been, there's a decent chance prosecutors will appeal the sentence, arguing that the court miscalculated the gain from the bribery that should result in a higher calculation under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. A WTVYNews4.com story (here) discusses the sentencing. (ph)