Jurors in the corporate fraud trial of fired HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy worked a short day yesterday without reaching a verdict and...

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jurors in the corporate fraud trial of fired HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy worked a short day yesterday without reaching a verdict and plan to take a long weekend for Memorial Day.

The panel deliberated about four hours in its seventh day of talks, 1 ½ hours less than its normal schedule.

Scrushy’s trial began in January, and U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre told jurors Thursday she hoped a long weekend would refresh them. She also suggested they consider working longer hours after the holiday.

The jury has sent Bowdre notes saying they were deadlocked on a key conspiracy charge against Scrushy, but she told them it was all right to skip that count and move on to the other 35 charges against the former executive.

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Scrushy is accused of directing a scheme to inflate HealthSouth earnings by $2.7 billion for seven years ending in 2002. The defense blames the fraud on former aides, including 15 one-time HealthSouth executives who have pleaded guilty.

Scrushy is the first chief executive tried under the Sarbanes-Oxley law, passed in 2002 after a wave of corporate scandals. Besides conspiracy, he is charged with fraud, false financial reporting and money laundering.