|News Media Update||ALABAMA||Confidentiality/Privilege|
Mike Wallace subpoenaed in corporate fraud prosecution
- Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy has subpoenaed Mike Wallace and Robert Anderson of CBS’ “60 Minutes” to testify in his corporate fraud trial.
Jan. 4, 2005 — CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace and producer Robert Anderson are fighting subpoenas to testify in the federal criminal trial of ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard M. Scrushy. Wallace interviewed Scrushy for an October 2003 “60 Minutes” segment, re-aired August 2004, on allegations that Scrushy was involved in a corporate fraud scandal that cost HealthSouth shareholders billions of dollars.
Scrushy’s trial on charges of fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice, perjury and violating the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reporting laws begins this month in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala., before Judge Karon O. Bowdre. Scrushy pleaded not guilty to the charges, blaming over $2 billion in inflated profits on other former HealthSouth executives who have pleaded guilty.
The subpoenas were requested by Scrushy to provide defense testimony should prosecutors introduce videotapes of the “60 Minutes” segment at trial, according to documents filed with the court by Wallace’s and Anderson’s attorneys.
“There is no possible knowledge these reporters have that goes directly to the heart of the Defendant’s guilt or innocence. Moreover, there are obvious alternative sources with knowledge about whatever the Defendant might ask them,” Wallace and Anderson’s attorneys wrote. “In fact, these subpoenas present virtually a textbook example of why the law presumptively bars testimonial subpoenas to journalists who have reported about the underlying case.”
Earlier this year, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press joined Bloomberg News, the Associated Press, Hearst Corp. and Birmingham News Company in intervening in the case to challenge the sealing of many of the filings.
(U.S. v. Scrushy; Media Counsel: Lee Levine, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, Washington, D.C.) — GP
© 2005 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press