Richard Scrushy should go free on bond just as former Gov. Don Siegelman was released

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dear editor,

Don Siegelman deserves to be out on appeal as a matter of due process.

In letting him out, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found substantial questions in his case that could lead to reversal of his conviction.

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Those same questions also require that Richard Scrushy be out on appeal.

As an American citizen, Scrushy deserves the same due process Don Siegelman received.

The appeals panel cited Scrushy as a “threat to run” as reason for denying his appeal bond.

I beg to respectfully differ, exercising my First Amendment rights in doing so.

Scrushy has pledged his Vestavia Hills home and

Lake Martin estate, worth a total of $10 million to $12 million, as security for his bond.

In fact, he has pledged virtually everything he has, short of money needed for living expenses and legal bills.

Scrushy would lose all that if he skipped the country, and he would lose his right to be vindicated, which he badly wants.

Even more importantly, Mr. Scrushy has nine children, six grandchildren and a devoted wife, Leslie.

They very much need his help.

Scrushy’s ability to see his family would be irreparably damaged. He loves them too much.

He is going nowhere.

Richard Scrushy also loves America, and he loves Alabama.

While he feels wrongfully treated by the American justice system, as practiced in Montgomery’s federal court, Mr. Scrushy would never leave a country and state of which he is so deeply a part.

Richard Scrushy is also a person of genuine and deep faith. He knows God will see him through this ordeal.

His devotion to Jesus as Lord has brought him thus far.

Significantly, Mr. Scrushy has always shown up for previous federal court trials and hearings in both Birmingham and Montgomery.

This means he is not a flight risk.

Scrushy’s south Florida trip, while awaiting sentencing, about nine months after the conviction,

should not be used against him. This was only a misunderstanding caused by a miscommunication with a probation officer.

Scrushy never left the country during that trip.

Moreover, Richard Scrushy wore an ankle bracelet for much of the year between his conviction and sentencing.

He is willing to wear it again.

This again is proof he is going nowhere.

Home confinement is a much better alternative to where he is now.

Most importantly, if Scrushy’s Montgomery conviction were reversed and he was acquitted on retrial, as I believe will happen, there will be no way for him to recapture all the time he has languished in prison.

This is unfair.

The public should not forget that Scrushy created a new business in Alabama, which, at its peak, employed 52,000 people.

It still employs thousands today.

Scrushy has thus helped feed many families.

He has also given millions to many worthwhile charities.

Scrushy deserves credit for the good he has done. He at least ought to be out on bond, like Siegelman, until his appeal is decided.

I urge conscientious citizens and lovers of justice to write U.S. Congressman John Conyers.

He is conducting an investigation into the Siegelman-Scrushy case. Urge Richard Scrushy’s release, pending appeal.

It is the only right, fair and just thing to do.


Julian McPhillips