Sunday, May 22, 2005
While the jury will continue to deliberate on the charges pending against Richard Scrushy, after questioning the judge as to what happens if they all can't agree (see AP in Birmingham News here), another case has concluded. This case involved charges against two former HealthSouth employees and the verdict was Not Guilty.
The case against these two former HealthSouth executives included charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and related to a contract in Saudi Arabia. The "not guilty" verdict was found despite the testimony of two individuals who testified under terms of a plea agreement they entered. (see here).
Reporter Michael Tomberlin of the Birmingham News reports that the "jury determined the money paid . . . could have been due to a legitimate consulting contract, as the defense had argued."
The FCPA includes several affirmative defenses that allow the defense to present arguments such as the payments being legal in the country where made, or that the payments were "reasonable and bona fide expenditure[s]."