Friday, January 21, 2005
AP Wires report that "Richard Scrushy lost a key pretrial round Thursday when a judge refused to throw out secret recordings that prosecutors contend prove the fired HealthSouth CEO was part of a massive fraud." But whether this ruling will be "key" to the defense remains to be seen. For one, it does not mean that the recordings will automatically be admitted into evidence. As the story reports, "[t]he government still must prove that agents handled the recordings properly."
According to the AP story, another ruling by the court included a holding that the search of Scrushy's office, despite their being no warrant, would be valid as the lawyers for HealthSouth consented to the search. The judge "rejected Scrushy's claims that he wasn't subject to HealthSouth policies that held any employee's work area or computer was company property and subject to search."
Do companies with policies that permit searching of employee's work areas realize that they may be subject to these policies? Will a decision such as this one cause corporations to rewrite their policies to exclude certain individuals in the company? If they do start excluding top company individuals from these access policies, will it make a difference should the government decide to search the work area of the CEO?
The final punch to the defense was when the judge failed to rule on Scrushy's request for documents. But the documents may be forthcoming, especially if they go to bias of a witness who might be testifying.
So the defense took 3 punches, but they aren't in the ring yet. The only thing that really counts is what happens when the fight actually starts.