New Netflix series Trial By Media is taking a hard look at “some of the most dramatic and memorable trials in recent history” through the lens of the idea that “courtroom dramas have increasingly been transformed into a form of entertainment.”
One such trial is that of Richard Scrushy, aka “King Richard,” the former CEO of HealthSouth Corporation, an Alabama-based global healthcare company. Here’s what you need to know about his corruption trial and what he’s doing now.
Richard Scrushy Today
On Scrushy’s personal website, he bills himself as a “speaker, businessman, entrepreneur” and he is available to hire for speaking engagements. It also says he and wife Leslie have nine children and six grandchildren, and that he is “a commercial instrument multiengine pilot, an author, a musician, and a songwriter.”
In a 2014 interview with CBS 42 WIAT, Scrushy said of his time in prison, “It was kind of like growing up in a very austere situation … we had a lot of time on our hands.” He said he spent that time teaching in the prison’s education program and grew in his faith.
Scrushy Underwent Two Criminal Trials
In 2004, Scrushy was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after a lengthy FBI investigation into his accounting fraud that involved $2.7 billion over the course of six years, from 1996 to 2002, according to USA Today.
The SEC originally brought 85 counts of various fraud charges against him, with 36 making it all the way to trial. He was the first CEO charged with violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is an act “An Act To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes.” It also protects whistleblowers.
Scrushy was acquitted of all charges during his Birmingham jury trial in 2005. However, four months later, Scrushy was indicted by a federal grand jury alongside former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on 30 counts of bribery, extortion, money laundering, obstruction, and racketeering. In 2006, both men were convicted.
According to the New York Times, the jurors convicted Scrushy of bribery, conspiracy, and mail fraud, the last of which carries the longest jail term. In June 2007, Scrushy was sentenced to six years, 10 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $267,000 in restitution to United Way of Alabama, a fine of $150,000, and was put on three years’ probation. Siegelman earned a similar sentence but his sentence was one year longer.
However, in 2009, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court upheld Scrushy’s charges but dismissed two of the seven against Siegelman.
Scrushy Served Most of His Sentence
On July 26, 2012, Scrushy was released from federal custody. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, who presided over the 2006 trial, trimmed Scrushy sentence by a year due to his ministry work while in prison and Scrushy’s plea about being separated from his family, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
But Scrushy also faced a civil suit from former HealthSouth investors seeking compensation for their money lost due to Scrushy’s fraud. In June 2009, Judge Allwin Horn ordered Scrushy to pay $2.87 billion in restitution. According to Alabama.com, Scrushy’s net worth was divulged over the course of the trial; it was at least $287 million in 2004. Scrushy appealed that verdict but lost his appeal.
Trial By Media is out now on Netflix.
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