Sentencing began Tuesday morning in the federal bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud trials of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Siegelman arrived at the federal courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., with family and civil rights activist the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
"I was impressed with the record. I read it and it made me sick to my stomach. They repeated a number of people and a number of polluted local officials who are trying to make the Republican Party. You see, the right wing wants to be 'the right,' but they are doing a lot of wrongdoing," said Shuttlesworth, speaking to reporters before entering the courthouse.
Said Siegelman: "I've got a positive spirit and I believe that God's going to straighten this stuff out. You know, I'd be less than honest if I didn't say it's troubling and disturbing that after all my family has gone through and suffered and given up, as hard as we have worked for the people of Alabama, that we are having to stand here and go through this today. But this is in God's hands and also in my lawyer's hands."
Scrushy, an ordained minister, arrived with family members, including his wife and two young daughters, who prayed together in the parking lot before addressing reporters and then entering the courthouse.
"I am here for one reason. I am here because I refused to do what these prosecutors asked me to do. Our federal government is broke. When prosecutors ask you to lie on a governor because they have some kind of political agenda, y'all, it's wrong, and I hope the people of the state of Alabama will not allow this to continue. This is sick," Scrushy, 54, said.
Both men have been very spirited in their comments about the indictments, trial and convictions, and prior to the sentencing, which is expected to last several days, the two men told MyFoxAL.com that they are confident they will win a reprieve from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals as soon as the truth is allowed to come out.
"It's wrong; it's absolutely wrong. It stinks every way you could look at it. There's no evidence, there's no reason why we should be in this situation. I don't care if you like Siegelman or you like me or you do or you don't. It doesn't matter. We're citizens and we have rights just like anybody else. Our constitutional rights were taken away from us. This is wrong," Scrushy said.
Click here to view the raw footage of interviews with Richard Scrushy and Don Siegelman on MyFoxAL.com.
In a separate interview, Siegelman, a Democrat, said that two ringers on the jury subverted his right to a fair trial and convinced the other jurors to convict him. He also claimed White House aide Karl Rove called the Department of Justice to launch the investigation that led to his prosecution.
"The United States Congress is going to find out about Karl Rove and we will watch as those officials raise their hands and testify about how he has abused the Department of Justice for the political use of the Republican Party, his wing of the Republican Party," he said.
Scrushy and Siegelman were convicted last June of arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery in exchange for being appointed by Siegelman to a seat on an influential hospital regulatory board.
Both men deny trading government favors for campaign donations. They have remained free on $250,000 bonds pending while their attorneys filed dismissal arguments.