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Alabama: the jury asks "is a campaign contribution a 'thing of value'?"

AP reports: Jurors in the government corruption trial of former Gov. Don Siegelman and three others interrupted their deliberations Friday to ask a question at the heart of the government's case: Does a campaign contribution constitute a thing of value for Siegelman?

The jury's question concerned Count 3 of the 34-count indictment, which charges that Siegelman, as governor, bribed former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy by promising him a seat on an influential hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller told jurors "a campaign contribution may be a thing of value," but left the final determination up to the jurors.

"The bottom line is it is for you to decide if any contribution to the Alabama Education Lottery Foundation or the Alabama Education Foundation is a thing of value," Fuller told jurors. -- al.com: NewsFlash - Judge: campaign donation may be thing of value to Siegelman

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