Lawyers assail Rick Scott for Medicare fraud testimony

A liberal lawyer and a Republican prosecutor are assailing Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott for saying he refused to testify during a Medicare fraud deposition "to stop the fishing expedition."

Both are donors to Democrat Alex Sink's campaign.

The Fifth Amendment is there for people to avoid incriminating themselves for criminal conduct, American Bar Association past president Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte and Florida 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone write in Thursday's Tallahassee Democrat. Refusing to testify under oath "in order to obstruct the fact-finding during an ongoing lawsuit," however, is "a manipulation of the legal system" and is "likely illegal."

Cervone is among several law enforcement voices in a potentially devastating ad for Sink that blasts Scott for taking the fifth 75 times in a single deposition. Scott refused to testify about his role as CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which was hit with a record $1.7 billion fine after Scott was forced out by its board in 1997 amid a federal fraud investigation.

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