The following letter was written from prison by former HealthSouth Corporation (NYSE:HLS) chief executive Richard Scrushy, who was sentenced on June of 2007 to nearly seven years behind bars for funneling $500K to former Alabama governor Don Siegelman in exchange for a spot on the state hospital regulatory board. Although the prosecution had requested a 25-year prison term for the HealthSouth Corp. founder, the 7-year sentence represented at the time a measure of vindication for the Justice Dept., which suffered a major defeat in 2005 when it failed to get a conviction of Scrushy on criminal-fraud trial (some thought Scrushy’s acquital was an outrage and a travesty to the American justice system, others believed the charges were strictly motivated by a vendetta against him) relating to a $2.7 billion accounting fraud at HealthSouth. Five former HealthSouth CFOs testified that Scrushy directed the fraud.
Scrushy however, maintains his innocence in his letter to Fox News ‘Cavuto‘ producer, Eric Spinato, and stresses the fact he was wrongly convicted. ” I did not commit the crime,” writes Scrushy. “Based on information we have now, the prosecutors knew there was no crime; so, they created what they called a crime. They coached and programed a witness to say what they needed him to say to get the convictions.”
Throughout the 90s, Scrushy was highly regarded as a CEO who helped HealthSouth, the company he founded in 1984, grow from a regional chain of hospitals into a Fortune 500 company.
Here is Scrushy’s letter: