Government Corruption

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Former Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth Chairman Richard Scrushy both proclaimed their innocence today at an arraignment on government corruption charges.

Siegelman and Scrushy appeared before US Magistrate Judge Vanzetta McPherson.

It was the second arraignment for Siegelman, Scrushy and two former members of Siegelman's Cabinet, chief of staff Paul Hamrick and transportation director Mack Roberts.

The first arraignment came after a federal grand jury in October indicted Siegelman and the other defendants. Federal prosecutors said the charges stem from -- quote -- "a widespread racketeering conspiracy" -- in which state officials traded official actions for money and gifts.

The second arraignment was necessary after the grand jury issued a new indictment earlier this month, expanding the charges it had filed against Siegelman and Scrushy.

Siegelman is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006 and has accused prosecutors of trying to derail his campaign.

Hamrick and Roberts also pleaded not guilty at today's arraignment.


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