Congressional investigators probing the alleged $2.5 billion accounting fraud at HealthSouth Corp. shouldn't expect to learn much from company founder Richard Scrushy.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week threatened to subpoena Scrushy to turn over records in his possession related to the Birmingham, Ala., company. A lawyer for the embattled former HealthSouth chairman and chief executive officer said no subpoena would be necessary.
Jonathan Rose, who is representing Scrushy in the congressional probe, said the Securities and Exchange Commission already has the 30 boxes of documents the committee wants. The SEC sued HealthSouth and Scrushy in March. "If we've got to copy documents, I consider it harassment, but we'll do it," Rose said in a telephone interview.
Rose also said the committee's questioning of Scrushy will be little more than "a Fifth Amendment demonstration" unless the committee provides Scrushy with a limited form of immunity that would preclude prosecutors from admitting his congressional testimony as evidence at trial.
The committee is seeking documents related to its investigation of HealthSouth and the work that accounting firm Ernst & Young did as the rehabilitation company's auditor.
Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the committee, said it is seeking documents besides what is in the SEC file because committee investigators "suspect (Scrushy) kept quite a lot of records outside the office." Johnson said no immunity will be offered to Scrushy, who will be asked to testify, and subpoenaed to testify if necessary.
"It is totally up to Mr. Scrushy how he appears before the committee, but he will appear," Johnson said.