Federal prosecutors filed a one-sentence motion to dismiss charges against a former HealthSouth Corp. president and chief operating officer indicted in February for allegedly benefiting from fraud at the company. The motion in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala., did not explain why the government chose to drop its case against James Bennett, who pleaded not guilty to the 39-count indictment. The trial of a former HealthSouth controller, Sonny Crumpler, who also pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for jury selection in November. The only other person to plead not guilty in the case, HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy, was acquitted by a jury in late June. In all, 15 former HealthSouth employees pleaded guilty in connection to an estimated $2.7 billion in accounting fraud at the company. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 26 for former Chief Financial Officer Bill Owens, who pleaded guilty in a deal with the government and testified that Scrushy knew of the fraud. Scrushy blamed Owens. -- by Joseph Mantone
U.S. drops charges against former HealthSouth COO
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