Fresh out of federal prison, Don Siegelman turns 71; won’t celebrate with state pension


Former Gov. Don Siegelman, who spent more than six years in federal prison for bribery, turned 71 Friday.

After two decades years in Alabama statewide elective office – eight as secretary of state and four each as attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor – was convicted in 2006 of bribery, and sentenced to 78 months in federal prison.

On February 8, Siegelman was released six months early from a facility in Oakdale, Louisiana, and is serving the remaining sentence in detention at his Vestavia Hills home. His conviction will officially end August 8.

“I feel like a refugee coming into New York,” Siegelman told friends and family after his release.

In 2006, both Siegelman and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy were convicted on bribery charges stemming from $500,000  Scrushy gave Siegelman’s campaign for his support in establishing an Alabama lottery and in exchange for being named to a state health board.

Initially, Siegelman faced an 88-month prison sentence in 2007; nine months after his arrest, however, he was released on bond and filed an appeal. Later, the court resentenced Siegelman for 78 months; he returned to jail September 2012, where he stayed until earlier this month. reports that Siegelman will not be celebrating his birthday with a state pension – not because of his bribery conviction, but because of a 1901 statute in the Alabama Constitution that bans elected officials from receiving state retirement. A 1975 attempt to change the law to give then-Gov. George Wallace a pension was struck down as unconstitutional.