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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Scrushy showing a knack for favorable TV exposure

Former HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy would tell you that a Birmingham jury acquitted him of accounting fraud in June because he was innocent. Maybe so, but he got some public-relations help from sympathetic TV exposure.

He has a daily TV talk show, featuring Bible study, that started in the Birmingham market in early 2004 after he was indicted. It continued during the trial. Also during the trial, a Birmingham station owned by Mr. Scrushy's son-in-law aired a show that was often sympathetic to the defense.

Now Mr. Scrushy, along with former Gov. Don Siegelman and two others, has been indicted in Montgomery in an alleged racketeering scheme involving bribery and fraud. And the son-in-law, Mike Plaia, is buying two low-powered TV stations in the Montgomery area.

Mr. Plaia said Montgomery viewers might be seeing both the current talk show and a trial-related show, according to The Associated Press.

"I would hope that Richard would want to increase his viewership there," Mr. Plaia said.

What a coincidence! If Mr. Plaia hadn't insisted there is "not any correlation ... at all" between purchase of the stations and the indictment, we might suspect somebody was trying to buy influence on potential jurors.

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