Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It's a Small World After All

As the prosecution of Richard Scrushy enters its final phase, with closing arguments set for today, the various sideshows should be coming to an end (see earlier post here on the investigation into a Wall Street Journal story on the dismissal of a juror).  Judge Karon Bowdre released a transcript of a hearing held in November 2003, shortly after the original indictment and her assignment to the case, in which she informed the counsel that she had a prior relationship with Scrushy's daughter and ex-wife from when their show horses were boarded together.  Indeed, Judge Bowdre's horse was in a stable owned by Scrushy and she met him on a few occasions.  Neither side took up her recusal offer, no doubt because the contacts were probably no more extensive -- and perhaps even much less -- than other federal district court judges in Birmingham.  Scrushy's prominence in the business community likely put him in contact, in one way or another, with most of the judges or members of their families.  The hearing transcript also has Judge Bowdre stating that she was not very happy with drawing the Scrushy prosecution, a feeling that has probably grown stronger since the trial started back in January. An AP story (here) discusses the hearing in November 2003. (ph)

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