updated 7/21/2005 8:00:05 PM ET 2005-07-22T00:00:05

Fired HealthSouth Corp. chief Richard Scrushy asked a judge Thursday to end the government's civil lawsuit accusing him of leading a $2.7 billion fraud, arguing the case should be dismissed since a jury acquitted him of separate, criminal charges.

In a 24-page brief, Scrushy claimed the lawsuit, filed in 2003 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be thrown out since the Department of Justice criminal investigation failed to result in his conviction.

"After being pursued for years by all the king's horses and all the king's men, (Scrushy) stands before this court having been acquitted of all charges against him," his lawyers wrote.

"Neither of the government agencies involved, the SEC or the DOJ, have produced credible evidence that Mr. Scrushy knew others at HealthSouth were engaged in any accounting improprieties, much less fraud," Scrushy argued.

The arguments were in response to documents filed previously by the SEC, which claimed its lawsuit seeking $785 million in civil fines and restitution should move ahead despite Scrushy's acquittal on criminal charges.

The SEC sued HealthSouth and Scrushy in 2003, seeking penalties and asking the court to bar Scrushy from serving as an officer or director of any publicly held company.

Birmingham-based HealthSouth, which cooperated with prosecutors in their investigation of Scrushy, settled its part of the civil case last month for $100 million in penalties.

Scrushy, the first chief executive accused of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reporting law, was acquitted last month of that charge plus multiple fraud counts, conspiracy and money laundering.

Fifteen former HealthSouth executives pleaded guilty in the fraud, including five finance chiefs who testified that Scrushy directed the fraud because the company was missing Wall Street forecasts. Jurors in Scrushy's criminal trial rejected their testimony as not being credible.

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