Judge in Scrushy trial again explains key charge to jury
Published May 26, 2005
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The judge in Richard Scrushy's fraud trial is trying to prevent the case against the former HealthSouth Corp. CEO from winding up in a deadlocked jury and mistrial.
Responding to questions from jurors, U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre instructed the panel for a third time Wednesday on a pivotal conspiracy charge, a complicated Count One with a verdict form that is four pages long covering a range of alleged white-collar crimes. After saying that an acquittal or a guilty verdict must be unanimous and explaining details of the decisions required for a verdict, Bowdre sent the panel back to begin a fifth day of deliberations.
"I hope these clarifications help and that you will continue to work hard to reach a unanimous decision," she said politely, but firmly.
The jury recessed about five hours later without a verdict. Deliberations resume today.
Bowdre's instructions followed handwritten notes in which jurors told the judge "we cannot unanimously agree on a verdict" and that her instruction on the conspiracy charge "contradicts itself."
Outside court, attorneys on both sides cautioned against reading too much into the jury's notes. It's too early to be worrying about a mistrial since the jury must sift through the testimony of dozens of witnesses it heard over 31/2 months, they said.
[Last modified May 26, 2005, 01:17:14]
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