The Supreme Court ordered an appeals court Tuesday to review the convictions of two high-profile white-collar criminal defendants in light of its decision last week limiting the scope of “honest services fraud” prosecutions.
In a one-sentence order, the Supreme Court instructed the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to review the convictions of Richard Scrushy, the former CEO of HealthSouth, and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the “honest services fraud” law is limited to bribery and kickback schemes.
Scrushy and Siegelman were convicted on bribery and corruption charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Middle District of Alabama in 2006. The government alleged Siegleman had improperly appointed Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy donating $50o,000 to a campaign for a state lottery that Seigelman supported.
Members of Congress and 44 former state attorneys general have questioned the conviction, which many critics have claimed was the politically motivated work of then-Bush aide Karl Rove and other Republican officials.
Siegelman and Scrushy have maintained their innocence. Their attorneys have argued that donations the health care business executive made to the then-governor’s lottery fund and Scrushy’s later appointment to the Alabama health board wasn’t criminal, just ordinary politics.
See the Wall Street Journal’s write-up on the order here.