February 10, 2005
"This conversation did not take place."
The Owens Tapes have been admitted at the trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, including Scrushy's statement regarding the non-existence of certain conversations. The defense had fought vigorously to keep the tapes made from a wire worn by former CFO Bill Owens from being admitted at trial. After foundational testimony from Owens and an FBI technician, and apparently a lengthy lunch-time argument on admissibility, U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre admitted them into evidence and the jury has begun hearing Scrushy's unadorned statements. The defense has argued that the tapes actually exonerate Scrushy, and it is unlikely any contain the type of pure admission of guilt that is seen on TV cop shows. With the admission of the tapes, it is much more likely that Scrushy will have to testify to explain what he meant and why he said certain things -- like why a conversation should not be acknowledged as having occurred. An AP story here discusses the admission of the tapes, and more will be played for the jury over the next day or two. Expect the cross-examination of Owens to begin by next week, and it may prove to be lengthy, with more than a few lurid details coming out. (ph)
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