Government Corruption

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A federal judge dismissed one of the charges against former Gov. Don Siegelman and two co-defendants and cited government prosecutors for contempt in the Medicaid fraud case.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon said a theft charge accusing the defendants of misapplying $550,000 in state funds was an inappropriate charge against Siegelman, former chief of staff Paul Hamrick and Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo.

However, the judge left intact the main conspiracy and fraud charges accusing them of rigging bids on state Medicaid contracts sought by Bobo's health care company.

Clemon cited Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hart and Assistant State Attorney General John Gibbs for contempt of court for filing a court document accusing Siegelman and Hamrick of taking $25,000 in gifts.

The filing occurred before the judge had time to rule on whether the document should be made public or sealed.

Siegelman's attorney said the gifts were not illegal and that prosecutors made the allegation to influence potential jurors.

Hart and Gibbs said that was not their intention.