Federal prosecutors have requested that the indictment of former HealthSouth Corp. president and chief operating officer James P. Bennett be dropped, while the sentencing of five former Worldcom employees has been delayed.

Federal prosecutors submitted the paperwork necessary to dismiss the indictment of Bennett for his role in the $2.7 billion accounting scandal at the company. No reason was provided.

Bennett was indicted in February on 39 counts of insider trading, including: conspiracy to commit wire, mail, and securities fraud; making false statements to HealthSouth's auditor; money laundering; and lying to investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In a separate matter, a federal judge has delayed the sentencing for a handful of former WorldCom executives and accountants who pleaded guilty in the $11 billion fraud at the company.

The employees include accountants Betty Vinson and Troy Normand, accounting director Buford Yates, controller David Myers and chief financial officer Scott Sullivan. All pleaded guilty to fraud and cooperated with the government in its case against former chief executive Bernie Ebbers, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week.Originally set for between July 25 and Aug. 4, the sentencings were rescheduled for between Aug. 5 and 11.

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