Former governor Siegelman returns to Birmingham, continues fight for justice reform

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Don Siegelman is back home in Alabama.

The former governor was released from a Louisiana prison on Wednesday morning, after serving four and a half years on bribery charges.

“We worked real hard to get him out early, get him out last year. That didn’t happen. I don’t know. It’s just-it’s good,” said Clint Brown, who worked on the “Free Don” campaign and has known Siegelman since college.

Siegelman could not speak to the media, as he waited to hear from his parole officers what conditions the Department of Corrections would set for him. He will be serving the remainder of his sentence, about six months of time, under electronic surveillance at his Vestavia Hills home.

Siegelman arrived in Birmingham, sporting a lone bag, still dressed in what appeared to be a prison-issued shirt. From the moment his supporters saw him, they began cheering.

“It certainly warmed everyone’s heart that these people are still very excited,” said Chip Hill, a friend and former aide of Siegelman. “But you have to understand there are literally thousands of people around this country who are very energized by Governor Siegelman, by this case.”

Siegelman’s supporters have long held that the former governor is innocent. Prosecutors at trial accused Siegelman of using his position for personal financial gain.

As for what’s next for the former governor, his supporters say they don’t know his plans. They say right now, he’s just glad to be home, spending time with family and friends, outside of the prison walls. Clint Brown says he believes Siegelman will continue work on criminal justice reform.

“He’s helped a lot of individuals in prison, inmates, helped them with their issues and their problems and he’s been talking with members of Congress, making proposals on that level,” Brown said.

Siegelman is expected to release a statement in the next couple of days, pending advisement from a parole officer.

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