Tuscaloosa, AL – Jury selection began Monday in the corruption trial of former Governor Don Siegelman. U-S District Judge U-W Clemon openly questioned the strength of the prosecution's case. Siegelman and his former chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, are charged with conspiracy and health care fraud. They're accused of rigging the state Medicaid bid process. The trial is being held in Tuscaloosa.
Tuskegee, AL – State Representative Johnny Ford is leaving the legislature. He notified House Speaker Seth Hammett Thursday that he is resigning his seat. Ford's resignation will take affect at nine o'clock Monday morning. Ford is the only black Republican serving in the state legislature. He's leaving to once again become mayor of Tuskegee. He was elected to the post last month. Before serving in the House, he spent 24 years as mayor. Governor Bob Riley will call a special election to fill Ford's seat.
Mobile, AL – The Beach Boys and other performers are in Mobile this weekend for BayFest. That's the annual music festival that kicks off Friday night. City officials are wondering about this year's attendance because of Hurricane Ivan. Sarju Patel is the head of the Mobile Hotel Motel Association. He says rooms are typically full with the BayFest crowd, but this year...they're taken by Ivan evacuees and work crews involved in disaster recovery.
Birmingham, AL – Former HealthSouth C-E-O Richard Scrushy has fewer charges against him now, but he also has some new ones. A new indictment adds perjury and obstruction of justice charges to the criminal case against him. Meanwhile, prosecutors have consolidated conspiracy and fraud charges against Scrushy. He now faces 58 criminal counts instead of 85. Scrushy appeared before Federal Magistrate Judge T- Michael Putnam yesterday. Scrushy has pleaded innocent to all charges. His trial is scheduled to begin January fifth.