The federal government's civil trial against former HealthSouth Corp. chief executive Richard Scrushy won't begin until April 2007.

U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson set an April 2, 2007, start date for Scrushy's next trial. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also been given until Dec. 30 to refile two fraud charges thrown out earlier this week because the judge felt the allegations were too vague.

Scrushy is accused of aiding and abetting in false financial reporting, false record-keeping and failing to maintain proper internal controls at HealthSouth. Scrushy was acquitted in late June on all of the three dozen counts he faced in connection with a $2.7 billion accounting scandal that inflated earnings at the health care company. The civil suit seeks $786 million in penalties and restitution, and would not allow Scrushy to serve as an officer or director at any public company if found guilty.

Lawyers for Scrushy and the government have scheduled mediation talks to begin Jan. 18, which could lead to a settlement. HealthSouth previously settled its portion of the case for $100 million.

Scrushy is facing four charges brought by the SEC in connection with the scandal at the company, including charges of aiding and abetting HealthSouth's financial reporting violations and liability for HealthSouth's violations by failing to ensure internal accounting controls while chairman and chief executive.The SEC case has been on hold for more than two years until the criminal case and trial against Scrushy was completed. In setting the civil trial schedule, the judge said that the trial is expected to last four to six weeks.

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