Siegelman Attends Democratic Breakfast

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With Medicaid fraud charges dismissed, former Gov. Don Siegelman attended a Democratic breakfast Saturday in Walker County, saying he'll follow his heart in making any 2006 bid for governor.

But he already sounded like a candidate in the November Second election when he said, "This is my first time out on the campaign trail since being derailed by the court challenge, and it has been a wonderful experience."

He was campaigning for local Democrats, including presidential nominee John Kerry.

Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped the Medicaid fraud charges against Siegelman and a former top aide after Birmingham Federal Judge U.W. Clemon threw out a conspiracy charge that was the linchpin of the case.

Siegelman said he knew "the truth would come out" in the case against him. He said the ordeal was "damaging to my reputation, and we must now go through a process of rehabilitation."

As for any future re-election bid, Siegelman said, "I will let my heart be the guide on that. What's really important is what is best for the state of Alabama."

His immediate plans include a return to his law practice and spending time with his family.