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Preview / June 28 -- July 4

Deliberations to Start in Adelphia Fraud Case

June 28, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Jurors at the fraud trial of Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas, two of his sons and a fourth executive begin deliberations today.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand on Friday finished instructing the 12 jurors and three alternates, who had begun hearing the case March 1 in New York.

Jurors must weigh a 23-count indictment that accuses the Rigases and former Assistant Treasurer Michael Mulcahey of looting Adelphia, the No. 5 cable television operator, before it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2002. Prosecutors allege that the defendants hid $2.3 billion in debt, stole more than $100 million and lied about revenue and operations.

Sand on Friday finished reading a 108-page instruction on the legal standards for determining whether the defendants were guilty of one count of conspiracy, 15 counts of securities fraud, five counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

The judge also gave jurors a verdict form that required them to answer dozens of questions in weighing the potential guilt of each man on all 23 counts.

If convicted, the four defendants face dozens of years in prison and forfeiture of $2.5 billion.

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