Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, January 28, 2005

I haven't mentioned much lately--

about the ongoing Tribulation of the Dickie-Bird, but I figure now's as good a time as any to examine the defense strategy. Today's Birmingham News has this article--Forensic accountant: HealthSouth was `flat-out making up numbers'--which details testimony from a government forensic accountant, as well as recounts the testimony from the past few days given by Aaron Beam, one of the co-founders of HealthSouth and its first CFO. Of interest to me is that Dickie-Bird's crack, yet folksy and homespun, defense team seem to be attempting a dangerous play--first, doing all it can to destroy Beam's credibility based upon his personal life:

[...] Trying to damage Beam's credibility before a jury that includes several people who are active in churches, defense lawyer Jim Parkman got Beam to admit to owning two nightclubs, drinking and putting up a woman other than his wife in a home before he left HealthSouth, where he also got her a job.

"Did you lie to your wife?" Parkman asked.

"Yes," said Beam.

But Beam, who retired from HealthSouth in 1997, didn't budge from earlier testimony that Scrushy told him and a colleague to "fix the numbers" — a statement they took as an order to do whatever it took to meet earnings. He denied Parkman's suggestion that Scrushy really was telling them to clean up years of "aggressive accounting" that had been used to boost earnings earlier. [...]

Pretty low, but you know, a lawyer's gotta do what a lawyer's gotta do to protect his client and put the witnesses in the worst possible light. But here's the deal--Mr. Scrushy's team might not want to bring up various lies and infidelities and boozery of others. Seeing as how Mr. Scrushy has now found religion, surely he has heard the Bible story with the nut graf about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Any personal motives the various CFOs might have had for cooking up false numbers might also apply to the defendant in this case. But, that's only what I remember hearing from back when I worked in the same building where HealthSouth had its headquarters, before they moved to their own building. So, you know, it's just hearsay and all. I'm sure there was nothing to it.

Anyway, back to the defense strategy, with this paragraph from this News update:

News staff writers

Former HealthSouth finance chief Aaron Beam, testifying for a third day, said Thursday that Richard Scrushy never told him to break the law when the company's profits trailed Wall Street projections in 1996.

Beam, 61, was questioned by Scrushy attorney Jim Parkman in U.S. District Court during the fraud trial of the HealthSouth founder and former chief executive. Beam told jurors Scrushy never used the words "illegal," "unlawful" or "wrong" when directing him and finance executive Bill Owens to "fix it" after learning HealthSouth's 1996 second-quarter profits trailed analysts forecasts.

"I think it was very clear that the government's witness today said that I never told him to do anything illegal or asked him to do anything that was criminal," Scrushy said after court adjourned. "It was very clear." [...]

Hey, I'm nowhere near being a lawyer, but this sounds like something my kids might say when they got caught doing something wrong. The idea that innocence of a crime is based upon the idea that the actual words, "I want you to go and commit a crime," were never spoken is absolutely ludicrous, and the defense knows it or else they would have never gone after Beam's personal life so hard.

This one's going to be a real barn-burner.

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