Son: Former Alabama governor held in solitary in prison

AP News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2015 5:17 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was placed in solitary in the federal prison where he's serving time on corruption charges after calling a talk show and repeating his claims of innocence, his son said Thursday.

Siegelman phoned a liberal talk show on Oct. 15 to discuss his allegations that he's a Democratic political prisoner wrongly prosecuted by Republicans. A recording of the segment is available online.

He also talked about U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who presided at Siegelman's trial but has since resigned after being arrested on a spousal abuse charge, and told listeners inmates are limited to 15 minutes on the phone.

"I'm being told I've got to end this by the camp counselor," said Siegelman, who hung up seconds later.

Joseph Siegelman, Siegelman's son and attorney, said the former governor was sent to a higher-security facility and placed solitary confinement afterward, and he's apparently been there ever since. Prison regulations don't bar inmates from speaking with the media, he said.

Officials at the Oakdale prison in western Louisiana didn't return a message seeking comment, and Siegelman said officials haven't explained why his father is in solitary.

"All I know is it's been eight weeks and he's still locked in a box," said the younger Siegelman, who practices in Birmingham.

Siegelman, 69, is set for release in August 2017 after serving 6½ years for bribery and obstruction of justice. He was convicted in an influence-peddling scheme with HealthSouth Corp. founder and former CEO Richard Scrushy, who already has finished his sentence.

Siegelman is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case, and his son said his father's isolation in solitary confinement presents "problematic obstacles" to the appeal.

More than 100 former state attorneys general have asked the Supreme Court to review the case.