Ex-Alabama governor released from solitary confinement

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2015 1:09 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been released from solitary confinement after spending eight weeks in isolation at a federal prison in Louisiana, his son said Thursday.

Siegelman's son, Joseph Siegelman, said his father was released from solitary last week, but will not be able to make phone calls or see his family until after the Christmas holidays.

"He's glad to be out of that situation ... but he's still in federal prison," Joseph Siegelman said.

Federal prison officials said last week that they could not comment on Siegelman's housing assignment.

The son said Siegelman was placed in solitary after calling a talk show in October. Siegelman phoned a liberal talk show and discussed his ideas on prison reform and his allegations that he's a Democratic political prisoner wrongly prosecuted by Republicans. Siegelman also talked about the judge who presided at his trial. The judge has since resigned after being arrested on a spousal abuse charge.

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

Joseph Siegelman said his father's punishment includes not having visitors or phone calls for 60 days, a period that will not end until Dec. 30. He said the family had hoped to visit him for Christmas but will not be able to do so.

The younger Siegelman was able to speak to his father briefly since he is a member of his legal team.

The 69-year-old ex-governor is serving a 6 ½ year sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice. A jury convicted him of selling a seat on a state health board to former HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy in exchange for campaign contributions to Siegelman's 1999 effort to establish a state lottery.

Scrushy has already has finished his sentence. Siegelman's projected release date is Aug. 8, 2017.

Siegelman is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case.