HealthSouth

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A judge has ordered strict secrecy measures for jury selection in the upcoming trial of fired HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and threatened criminal charges for anyone who contacts a juror before the end of the case.

The rules were issued yesterday by Birmingham Federal Judge Karon O. Bowdre. She said the trial could last two months and includes 50 witnesses and hundreds of thousands of documents.

Prosecutors contend Scrushy was behind a massive fraud that overstated HealthSouth earnings by some $2.6 billion to meet Wall Street expectations.

Scrushy has pleaded not guilty to a 58-count indictment. He remains free $10 million bond.

The judge said jurors' identities cannot be revealed to the public or press before the trial concludes, and jurors will be referred to only by numbers in court.

Bowdre said attorneys will select a jury of 12 members and six alternates on Jan. 13, with opening statements to begin Jan. 18.