"Throughout the six-month trial that led to Richard Scrushy's acquittal in the $2.7 billion fraud at HealthSouth Corp., a small, influential newspaper consistently printed articles sympathetic to the ... fired CEO." The author of those stories, Audry Lewis, now says "she was secretly working on behalf of Scrushy, who she says paid her $11,000 through a public relations firm," The Lewis Group. Audry Lewis wrote the articles, "sent unedited copies" to Scrushy and the PR firm's Jesse Lewis, and Lewis placed the stories in The Birmingham Times, where his son is editor. Audry Lewis and Rev. Herman Henderson "now say Scrushy owes them $150,000 for the newspaper stories and other public relations work, including getting black pastors to attend the trial in a bid to sway the mostly black jury." The prosecutor, Alice Martin, said, "If you want to pay someone to write favorable stories and can get a paper to print them, I don't know of any law it violates."
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