Friday, March 19, 2004

Jurors in 5-month Tyco
trial begin deliberations

By Samuel Maull
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Jurors began deliberating Thursday whether two former executives looted more than $600 million from Tyco International Inc. and used the money to pay for vacation homes, extravagant furnishings, jewelry and a party on a Mediterranean island.

Former Tyco chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and former finance chief Mark H. Swartz are both charged with 32 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and violating state business laws and face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Jurors began their talks after hearing more than five months of arguments and testimony and a morning of instructions from State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus. The jury ended deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict and was scheduled to resume today.

During the trial, which opened Oct. 7, jurors heard 47 witnesses and saw more than 700 exhibits that included two videotapes of a birthday bacchanal on a Mediterranean island and an $18 million Fifth Avenue apartment that contained the now-infamous $6,000 shower curtain - in the maid's room.

The panel Thursday sent out a note less than 10 minutes after it started deliberations, asking for a chart that prosecutors used during summations to list 68 overt acts they say the defendants committed as part of their conspiracy to steal from Tyco, a manufacturing conglomerate.

Obus, who read the list during his final instructions on the law, denied the request, saying the chart was not an exhibit in evidence but merely a visual aid. The judge told the jurors that he would read any or all of the list if they requested.

Prosecutors say Kozlowski, 57, and Swartz, 43, stole $170 million by taking unauthorized bonuses and by abusing company loan programs. They say the two also netted another $430 million by pumping up Tyco stock prices and selling their shares at market rates from 1995 through 2002.

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