Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Meanwhile, Down in Birmingham . . .

The testimony of Bernie Ebbers has stolen some of the spotlight away from the trial of Richard Scrushy in Birmingham, Alabama, which continues with the testimony of a third former CFO, Michael Martin, about Scrushy's involvement in the accounting fraud.  Faced with the drumbeat of witnesses that the government hopes will link Scrushy to the revenue inflation at HealthSouth, defense counsel Jim Parkman stated at a hearing on March 1 that there is a 50% chance Scrushy will testify -- the same odds as tossing a coin, but once discussed publicly, the likelihood of Scrushy testifying is quite high.  While no witness has yet testified that Scrushy used the term "fraud" or "fraudulent," the pressure to testify to establish the defense that he was misled by so many different executives for so long (6+ years) makes Scrushy the key witness in the trial, much like Ebbers has been for the "honest-but-ignorant CEO" claim. (ph)

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