Corporate Compliance

Scrushy memo gave prosecutors a heads up

Compliance Monitor, July 13, 2005

Scrushy memo gave prosecutors a heads up

More than a year before former HealthSouth Chief Executive Officer Richard Scrushy's trial began, a memo written by his lawyers provided the government with an detailed account of the defense's strategy, according to the Birmingham News.

The memo was originally written to deter the government from indicting Scrushy on charges he masterminded a $2.64 billion fraud scheme. In retrospect it provided a prophetic look at what was to become the defense's strategy.

"I am frankly amazed at this document, looking at it," Doug Jones, the former U.S. Attorney in Birmingham, told the Birmingham News. "It reads more like a post-mortem than a pretrial memo, and that makes the government's inability to present a coherent defense all that more unbelievable."

The memo, for instance, said the defense would attempt to discredit witnesses against Scrushy and that would-be incriminating audio tapes of Scrushy would not convince jurors of his guilt. Both of these events unfolded in the subsequent trial, and on June 28th, Scrushy was acquitted of all 36 counts against him.

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