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Scrushy Lawyers Seek to Discredit Witness

Scrushy Lawyers Seek to Discredit Witness

by Rick Turoczy on February 17, 2005

Defense lawyers for Richard Scrushy again tried depicting a key witness as a liar, portraying a former HealthSouth executive as a fraud participant rather than the innocent outsider he claimed to be.

The defense highlighted the fact that Leif Murphy once attended a meeting with eight people identified as being involved in the scheme to inflate earnings at the rehabilitation giant. Murphy testified that he left the company after Scrushy flew into a rage when confronted about the fraud.

The defense for Scrushy, HealthSouth’s former CEO, previously attempted to discredit testimony from a key prosecution witness, former finance chief Bill Owens. The defense argued Owens directed the fraud while Owens maintained his claim that Scrushy was behind the scheme.

Scrushy’s lawyers contend a group of executives called “the family” conspired to inflate earnings at HealthSouth and hid it from Scrushy. Prosecutors claim Scrushy was the driving force behind a conspiracy to overstate earnings by some $2.7 billion from 1996 through 2002 to make it appear HealthSouth Corp. was meeting or beating Wall Street forecasts.

Scrushy Lawyers Seek to Discredit Witness

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