Politics & Government

Florida candidate Rick Scott's straight talk gets fuzzy under oath

Rick Scott the candidate promises voters ``the unvarnished truth.''

But Rick Scott the witness offers little but murky testimony.

In a series of sworn depositions he gave in lawsuits against his former hospital company, Scott appears to be the polar opposite of the straight-talking Republican candidate for governor in his television ads.

Under oath, Scott displays a poor memory and a penchant for parsing words. He answers a lawyer's questions with questions. Smirking or shrugging his shoulders, his darting eyes survey the room in a video deposition in an anti-trust case brought by Orlando Regional Healthcare System against Scott's former company, Columbia/HCA.

In that 1995 lawsuit, Scott couldn't remember if a company press release quoted him correctly. In another case, filed by a Nevada company, Scott only confirmed his name before invoking 75 times his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In a third case, involving a spat with a Texas doctor, Scott could not recall letters he signed, including one in which he raised concerns about illegal doctor payments.

When asked about an agreement he apparently struck with the El Paso doctor named in the suit, Scott, a former mergers-and-acquisitions attorney, stalled.

``I don't know what the def -- your definition or anybody's definition of an `agreement' is, or an `offer' is, or `promise' is,'' he said in the Jan. 16, 1997, deposition.

Read the complete story at bradenton.com