Scrushy's greatest hits
By John Helyar

(FORTUNE Magazine) – There are a lot of mundane matters in a $2.7 billion fraud trial: contractual adjustments, weekly revenue reports, capital expenditure accounting, that sort of thing. But the Southern-fried trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, which was in danger of ending in a hung jury as FORTUNE went to press, was also chock-full of ingredients to be found nowhere else in the annals of white-collar crime. Herewith, the weirdest plot points that figured into the Scrushy trial. -- John Helyar

■A sucker punch At a going-away party for former HealthSouth treasurer Leif Murphy, then-CFO Mike Martin twice clocked the departing treasurer. This was after scribbling, on a farewell card, "Eat [expletive] and die."

■A SeaDoo While CFO of HealthSouth, Bill Owens used to unwind from the pressures of cooking the books with weekends at Lake Martin, Ala. One day as he was skimming around on a SeaDoo, he spotted his boss and lake-house neighbor Scrushy practicing takeoffs and landings in a seaplane. Owens met him in the middle of the lake for an impromptu conference during which they agreed COO Jim Bennett had to go.

■Scripture spouting Scrushy's son-in-law, Michael Plaia, bought a Birmingham TV station that each night broadcast a 30-minute trial recap. Leslie Scrushy also appeared with Richard on their fervently religious daily TV show, Viewpoint. The manager of that TV station was the former guitarist in Scrushy's country-western band, Dallas County Line.

■Eight young'uns While Scrushy was talking with his CFO Bill Owens (or, more precisely, being wiretapped by him), he urged Owens not to take the company's little accounting issues to the feds. "Just remember, I got eight kids. I got a bunch of babies at home. They need their daddy."