Former Alabama Governor Headed Back to Prison
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is one of six other governors to have been convicted of various crimes over the past 12 years. And his latest sentence of 78 months is one of the stiffest prison terms handed down amongst these disgraced public servants. After serving nine months of an 88-month sentence for federal funds bribery, in early 2008 Siegelman was released on an appeal bond.
Today he was no doubt dismayed to learn that he would be returning to federal prison to serve an additional 78 months. The 66-year old maintains that he did not mean to break any law, but the jury found him guilty nonetheless.
Siegelman’s defense team had asked the judge for time already had spent in federal prison in addition to community service/a number of years of probation. Not surprisingly, federal prosecutors maintained that a sentence of 88 months was appropriate. In the end, the judge sided mostly with the government.
In the past, Siegelman insisted that he was prosecuted as part of a political witch-hunt propagated by one time White House adviser Karl Rove. But at sentencing this time, he simply apologized and said that he did not know that what he was doing was against the law. Of course ignorance of the law is not commonly accepted as a reasonable defense in federal court, especially for someone of Siegelman’s stature who would be expected to know and understand the rules and laws that governed his position.