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Scrushy lawyer looks to undercut ex-CFO's testimony

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Richard Scrushy's lawyer began a combative cross-examination of a former HealthSouth Corp. executive yesterday, suggesting the government witness got to play golf as part of his punishment for a $2.7 billion fraud.

Defense attorney Jim Parkman went on the attack as soon as former HealthSouth chief financial officer Mike Martin completed testimony over four days depicting Scrushy as a key player in the fraud while chief executive of the medical rehabilitation chain.

Martin has pleaded guilty in the scheme, and Parkman brought out that his punishment of six months of home detention included seeing his wife and children, watching a big-screen TV and once even playing golf at a swanky country club.

Martin, whose sentence allowed him to work away from home, said he hates the sport but did it for business.

Earlier, Martin testified that his punishment included the forfeiture of $2.4 million in assets, a $50,000 fine and five years on probation.

After showing that Martin met with prosecutor Richard Smith as many as a dozen times before taking the stand, Parkman suggested authorities had coached his testimony placing Scrushy at the heart of the conspiracy. Martin denied being told what to say.

Previous testimony showed Martin yelled at the office and once punched another witness in a bar, and Parkman at times appeared to be trying to provoke him with rapid-fire questions asked in an angry or condescending tone. He called Martin a corporate ''go-fer."

But Martin stayed cool rather than cracking, often leaning back in the witness chair.

Martin frequently smiled or paused at particularly pointed questions as Parkman tried to highlight inconsistencies between Martin's testimony and earlier FBI statements.

Testimony indicated he told federal agents that investment banker Bill McGahan didn't know of the fraud, the opposite of what he said on the stand.

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