News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
TUESDAY, JULY 18, 2006


Judge tells Mr. Scrushy to stick around for finale

Richard Scrushy didn't attempt to soften up the potential pool of jurors for his Montgomery trial the way he did last year when he went to court in Birmingham in the $2.7 billion HealthSouth scandal.

Apparently, like so many other people, he felt his $500,000 to former Gov. Don Siegelman's education lottery campaign might pass as a legitimate contribution, even if in the process he won appointment to a state health board.

The jury's guilty verdict surprised him. So did U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Coody last week when he turned down the former HealthSouth CEO's request to travel to the Bahamas on a family vacation.

Judge Coody said Mr. Scrushy is a flight risk. In other words, Mr. Scrushy might not return for sentencing.

The brashness with which Mr. Scrushy went about attempting to curry favor with potential jurors before his Birmingham trial may have figured into the judge's decision. Whether it was wooing potential jurors or lawyers who presented a compelling case, jurors found him not guilty on all counts.

The Montgomery verdict may not hold up, but the judge wants to make sure Mr. Scrushy is in town whatever the outcome.

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