Former U.S. Attorney explains what Siegelman's sentence means fo - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Former U.S. Attorney explains what Siegelman's sentence means for AL

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Former Governor Don Siegelman is headed back to jail. A federal judge today re-sentenced Siegelman to six and a half years in prison for a government corruption case. Siegelman will actually serve less than six years. That's because he'll get credit for nine months he served after his 2006 conviction. Since that initial prison term, he's been out during an appeal process. Siegelman must report back to prison on September 11th - that makes him the second governor in two decades to be convicted of a felony.

"The jury found me guilty and I accept that," Former Governor Don Siegelman said after his sentencing.

After an emotional testimony  and multiple character references, it wasn't the news former Governor Don Siegelman was hoping to hear.

"I apologized to the people of Alabama," Siegelman said. "I never expected to be at this time and at this place. I never expected my career in public service to end at a federal courtroom."

Siegelman and former Healthsouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They made a deal putting $500,000 into Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery. In exchange, the governor appointed Scrushy to a  hospital regulatory board.

Today we sat down with former U.S. Attorney, Doug Jones - who at one time, represented Siegelman.

"It's been a difficult road for Alabama," Doug Jones, Former U.S. Attorney said. "Hopefully it will serve to deter others. I think that is why the court sentenced Gov. Siegelman to the lengthy sentence he did."

Jones relates this case to the bingo bribery trial where the major players walked away free. The difference is that Siegelman's  case involved the exchange of money with Richard Scrushy.

"This is a unique situation because it did involve a campaign contribution," Jones said. "Most bribery cases do not. They are a personal benefit going back to public office holder, the elected official. We didn't have that here. This went to a campaign fund and that made it a little bit different."

Jones says the biggest problem with this type of trial is that there is no clear law on bribery in campaigns.

"I think that this case is one that people will examine for a long time and as more cases come up the pike, they will look at the Siegelman case to determine whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court can distinguish it somehow," Jones said.