June 28, 2005
Scrushy is Acquitted
Posted by Christine Hurt

While the rugrats and I were at the beach, the world kept turning and Richard Scrushy, ex-CEO of HealthSouth, was acquitted by a federal court jury in Alabama.  Profs. Ribstein and Bainbridge are already on the job, pointing out that the discrepancies in judgments and sentences for scandal-actors of varying culpability reflect the lottery nature of corporate criminal prosecutions.  Note that Scrushy's trial was the first that attempted to prosecute a CEO for certifying to the financial statements, a la SOX.  Feds zero, CEOs one.

I am interested at the sociological impact that Scrushy's wrapping himself in New Testament rhetoric may or may not have had on the jury.  Scrushy didn't take the stand, and presumably the jury never caught part of his Billy Graham-like tour of Alabama churches.  Did Scrushy's crusade seep into the hearts and minds of the jurors?  I don't wish to imply that I question the sincerity of Scrushy's religious conviction, just the volume.  I heartily agree with one of his courthouse step statements today:

"Jesus taught us how to love each other," he said. "We've got to have compassion, folks, because you don't know who's going to be attacked next."

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