Friday, December 29, 2006
Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman struck out the first time in seeking a new trial on corruption charges based on evidence of potential juror misconduct when U.S. Chief District Judge Mark Fuller rejected their motion (see earlier post here). One ground advanced in that motion involved two e-mails purportedly between jurors discussing the case that showed possible bias and improper communications outside the jury room. Chief Judge Fuller found that the e-mails had not been authenticated as coming from a juror, and so he refused to consider them. Scrushy and Siegelman are trying again with a claim that there are two more e-mails (available below) between jurors, and have requested reconsideration of the new trial motion, citing the additional e-mails as evidence.
Like the earlier e-mails, these latest missives were sent anonymously to defense counsel, and the source is unknown. The problem, of course, is that the same authentication issue will likely arise. A story in the Mobile Press-Register (here) quotes the alleged recipient of the e-mails as stating, "Well, this is ridiculous. It's absolutely fabricated . . . This is completely bogus. I don't know what they're up to, but I sure would like to move on to my life." While Chief Judge Fuller was willing to hold an evidentiary hearing on the first motion, it will probably be much more difficult to get him to reconsider his prior ruling without more evidence about the source of the newly-submitted e-mails. (ph -- thanks to a loyal reader for sending along the information and another reader for correcting the source of the quote)