Supreme Court rejects former Alabama governor's appeal

A view of the U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman’s appeal arising from his bribery conviction involving a $500,000 donation from a healthcare executive in a prosecution the Democrat contended was politically motivated.

The former governor had challenged his 6-1/2 year sentence in the case, saying it was based on conduct for which he was not found guilty. He is serving time in a federal prison in Louisiana and is scheduled for release in 2017.

Siegelman was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with his role in what prosecutors depicted as a bribery arrangement involving $500,000 provided for Siegelman’s unsuccessful campaign to persuade Alabama voters to create a state lottery.

Richard Scrushy, HealthSouth Corp’s founder and former chief executive, was convicted of bribery for giving the $500,000 in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board.

Siegelman, 69, served from 1999 to 2003 as Alabama’s governor. Siegelman and his backers contend that he was the target of a politically motivated prosecution spearheaded by Republicans.

The former governor asserted that his trial was marred by the involvement of a federal prosecutor whose husband was involved in Republican politics. The prosecutor later recused herself from the case.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Will Dunham; Editing by Will Dunham