Siegelman Gets New Judge, Other Developments

Birmingham, AL – A federal judge has stepped down from handling the criminal charges against former Governor Don Siegelman and two co-defendants. U-S Attorney Alice Martin recommended that Judge Lynwood Smith step aside because he attended campaign events for his second cousin, Governor Riley, during the 2002 campaign. Martin says the judge's decision should eliminate any concerns of the public in the judicial process. Siegelman was indicted last month along with former aide Paul Hamrick and Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo on charges accusing them of conspiring to rig bids on a state Medicaid project. A new judge will be selected Thursday to handle the Siegelman case.
Meanwhile...a federal grand jury heard from three of former Governor Don Siegelman's top aides and other witnesses Wednesday. Siegelman's legal adviser Ted Hosp and appointments secretaries Josh Hayes and Raymond Bell testified. Siegelman, his former chief of staff Paul Hamrick and Tuscaloosa doctor Phillip Bobo face federal charges of conspiring to rig bids for state Medicaid contracts. All three have maintained their innocence.
And a Cherokee County judge accused of receiving 65-thousand dollars from a developer has been charged with extortion...and there's another connection to Governor Siegelman. Phillip Jordan is accused of receiving the payments from Montgomery businessman and lobbyist Lanny Young Junior, while the two were negotiating the construction of a landfill. Governor Siegelman's brother...Les...had an interest in Young's landfill company. Jordan had been probate judge since 1989. He resigned earlier this week, telling associates he had legal problems. Federal prosecutors filed charges yesterday in against Jordan in Birmingham. U-S- Attorney Alice Martin is expected to make an announcement Thursday morning about those charges.