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One of Richard Scrushy's co-founders at HealthSouth Corporation described him today as the "idea" man for the rehabilitation chain. Defense lawyers claim the remarks will undercut prosecution claims that Scrushy was involved in a huge fraud.

Tony Tanner, who helped start HealthSouth with Scrushy and three
other investors in 1984, also testified that a consultant found no problems with the company's corporate compliance program in 1999, three years into a massive earnings overstatement.

Tanner, who retired in 1999 because of health problems, said Aaron Beam, HealthSouth's first chief financial officer and a government witness against Scrushy, was, "the numbers man," because he was an accountant.

Scrushy is the first chief executive charged with violating the federal corporate reporting law. He also is accused of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.