January 26, 2005
According to an AP news report, the prosecution called Arthur Beam to present testimony today in the trial against Richard Scrushy. Beam, a former HealthSouth exec, said that Scrushy told him "[i]t's not an option to miss our numbers. You guys need to fix the numbers." According to the news report, "Beam said he participated in the fraud for a year because Scrushy intimidated him."
The jury may have gotten to see if Beam can be intimidated, as one news report states that "Beam came under sharp questioning" from the defense. The news report says that Beam could not recall some information when questioned by defense attorneys Jim Parkman and Art Leach.
Beam is one of several former HealthSouth execs who are scheduled to appear as witnesses in this trial. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Beam has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of criminal forfeiture tied to the $2.7 billion accounting fraud at HealthSouth, but hasn't been sentenced yet." It is common for the prosecution to have sentencing delayed pending the witnesses testimony and cooperation. In these situations, the question sometimes becomes the credibility of the testimony received through this form of cooperation agreement. Can we trust the testimony?