Scrushy Jury Gets Another Day Off

The start-and-stop jury deliberations in the fraud trial of fired HealthSouth Corp. (search) Chief Executive Richard Scrushy (search) were postponed again Tuesday, this time for a juror's illness.

Chief deputy clerk Sharon Harris said deliberations, which also were canceled Monday due to a juror's "unexpected emergency," were to resume Wednesday morning. It wasn't known whether the ill juror was a different one.

Harris said the delays were not related to the death of Scrushy's father, 82-year-old Gerald Marin Scrushy, at a Selma hospital on Monday. The elder Scrushy suffered a brain stem hemorrhage Saturday.

"I am truly saddened that he will not be able to hear the jury say, 'not guilty' in his son's trial," Richard Scrushy said in a statement.

Court officials said deliberations would continue despite the death since Scrushy does not have to be at the courthouse while jurors work. But it was unclear what would happen were funeral plans to coincide with the announcement of a verdict or continuing deadlock.

Jurors have deliberated only 16 days since getting the case on May 19 and have been off six days this month, including two for vacation. They reported being deadlocked on all 36 counts against Scrushy on June 3, but continued deliberations after getting instructions from U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre aimed at breaking the impasse.

The former HealthSouth chief is accused of leading a $2.7 billion-earnings overstatement at the Birmingham-based chain of rehabilitation and medical service centers.

Scrushy, 52, is accused of profiting from bonuses and stock sales during the fraud, which lasted from 1996 through 2002. The defense claims the accounting scheme was carried out without his knowledge by underlings, including 15 former HealthSouth executives who pleaded guilty in the fraud.

Scrushy is the first chief executive charged under the Sarbanes-Oxley (search) corporate reporting law. He also is accused of conspiracy, false reporting, fraud and money laundering.

If convicted, Scrushy could be sentenced to the equivalent of life imprisonment and fined millions of dollars. Prosecutors also are seeking $278 million in assets they claim are linked to the fraud.