Thursday, January 27, 2005

Scrushy & Ebbers - 1/27/05

Today in the Scrushy trial, an AP story relates how despite testifying against Scrushy, Aaron Beam told the jury that "HealthSouth CEO never told him to break the law at the start of a huge fraud, and that FBI agents were 'pressing' him for figures about the scam after he went to investigators."   As previously noted in the post of 1-26-05, the credibility of witnesses, especially those with cooperation agreements, may prove important here. 

In the Ebbers trial, the AP story relates the testimony of David Myers.  The story on says that, "Myers also made clear in his testimony that it was Sullivan, not Ebbers, who explicitly ordered him to find a way to hide expenses when they came in far higher than expected in the third quarter of 2000."  But there appears to be damaging evidence as well for the defense, as the news story states that  Myers "paraphrased Ebbers as saying: 'I'm sorry you were asked to do what you were asked to do. It's something that you should not have been put in that position to do.'"   This evidence may go to whether the accused had the level of mens rea required for the crime.  But the credibility of this witness, like others in this trial, will likely be questioned as Myers "former controller pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy in 2002, agreeing to cooperate with the government in hopes of winning a lighter penalty when he is eventually sentenced."


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