HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Scrushy Not Guilty

I won't even try to explain this story.  It is unbelievable!  CNN reports that Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth has been found not guilty of all charges.  Their website states,

Scrushy was the first chief executive charged with violating the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a corporate reform measure passed after a wave of corporate scandals that followed the collapse of Enron. Five former chief financial officers testified against him.

A federal jury in Alabama began deliberating about six weeks ago and appeared deadlocked until last week, when U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre replaced one juror on the 12-member panel.

As the verdict was read in the early afternoon, defense lawyers were crying while the prosecutors sat stone-faced, according to an eyewitness who was in the courtroom. Scrushy hugged his wife and his pastor.

Speaking to reporters outside the federal courthouse in Birmingham, Scrushy lashed out at prosecutors.

The 52-year-old founder and ex-CEO of HealthSouth faced 36 counts, including fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors accused Scrushy of masterminding the fraud in order to inflate the company's stock price and to finance a lavish lifestyle consisting of real estate, luxury cars, and diamond jewelry.

Scrushy did not take the stand in his own defense, but his lawyers argued at trial that other former HealthSouth executives committed the fraud without Scrushy's knowledge. Other executives faced with similar charges, including former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, have used the same defense and were convicted.

Thanks to Jim Tomaszewski for the article.  [bm]

Update"  Here is the New York Times story on the not guilty verdict as well as a story on the jury pool.  Also, has an article about future SEC civil sanctions.

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