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Scrushy trial may end in deadlocked jury or mistrial

[JURIST] The judge presiding over the trial of former HealthSouth Corp [corporate website] CEO Richard Scrushy [defense website], attempted Wednesday to prevent the trial from ending in a mistrial or a hung jury. Scrushy is on trial for conspiracy, fraud, false reporting, and money laundering, though earlier counts of perjury against him have been dropped [JURIST report]. The controversy surrounding the conspiracy charge, [backgrounder] a complicated charge with a four page long verdict form, has continued into the fifth day of jury deliberations. The jury has handed US District Judge Karon Bowdre handwritten notes expressing their inability to reach a unanimous verdict and contending that Bowdre's explanation of the conspiracy charge "contradicts itself." Judge Bowdre firmly told the jury that an acquittal or guilty verdict must be unanimous and that they must work hard to reach a decision. If found guilty, Scrushy could face a maximum sentence of life in prison plus the possibility of millions of dollars in fines. He could also be ordered to give up as much as $278 million in assets. Read the Scrushy indictment [PDF text]. AP has more.

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