Risk Management

Scrushy Avoids Maximum Sentence

HealthSouth's former CEO gets nearly seven years in prison. His lawyers will appeal.
Stephen TaubJune 29, 2007

Richard Scrushy is headed to prison, but for far fewer years than the maximum sentence. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller ordered the founder and former CEO of HealthSouth to prison for six years and 10 months and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to seven years and 4 months for the roles they played in a bribery and corruption scheme, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors sought 30 years for Siegelman and 25 for Scrushy, while their attorneys asked for probation. Earlier on Thursday, Fuller hiked the possible sentence range for Siegelman to more than 15 years and left Scrushy’s possible range at 8 to 10 years, according to the report. The judge was not bound by the guidelines, reported the wire service.

Attorneys for both men said they will appeal the sentences, according to the AP. The pair were convicted last year of bribery and other federal charges. Scrushy was found guilty of arranging donations of $500,000 to support Siegelman’s 1999 campaign to institute a state lottery in Alabama in return for a seat on an Alabama hospital regulatory board. Meanwhile, Siegelman also was convicted of obstruction of justice for trying to hide money given by a lobbyist for a motorcycle, according to the AP. The defense claims it was a legitimate deal.

Responding to supporters of both men who asked for mercy based on their good deeds, the judge reportedly noted: “While it is true the good far exceeds the bad, I must impose a fair punishment to reassure all that come before this court that justice is blind.” Scrushy was fined $150,000, which must be paid immediately. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $267,000 to United Way of Central Alabama and to perform 500 hours of community service after his sentence is completed.

Siegelman was fined $50,000 due immediately, plus $181,325 to a state agency where prosecutors said kickbacks were made. He also must perform 500 hours of community service when his sentence is completed. Both men will be on supervised release for three years when their terms end, according to the report.

“It will send the message that if these people can be sent to prison, it certainly can happen to a local politician,” prosecutor Joseph Fitzpatrick reportedly said in urging Fuller to hand down a stiff punishment.