A federal judge Tuesday scheduled the stock manipulation trial of Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III for April and rejected prosecutors' request to first try Nicholas on drug charges.
Nicholas, the former chief executive of Broadcom, has pleaded not guilty to a 21-count indictment of improperly backdating millions of stock options to reward employees at the Irvine computer chip designer.
A separate four-count indictment accuses the 48-year-old Newport Coast billionaire of distributing cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy at three homes and a warehouse he used for parties, and of spiking the drinks of technology executives with drugs. He has denied those allegations as well.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Kenneth Julian told U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney that the drug case was relatively simple and should be tried quickly, with a break before beginning the options case to let the publicity die down.