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Tyco Case a Mistrial, Judge Rules

As the actions of a juror drew increasingly intense press coverage, the trial of Kozlowski and Swartz reportedly descended into chaos.
David M. Katz, CFO.com | US
April 2, 2004

The judge in the corruption trial of Tyco's ex-chairman, Dennis Kozlowski, and its former CFO, Mark Swartz, declared a mistrial today after 12 days of deliberations, according to press reports.

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Citing outside pressure on one of the jurors that left him with no choice, New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus reportedly granted the request of the two men's lawyers by declaring a mistrial. Kozlowski and Swartz were accused of stealing $600 million from the company.

The state's indictment charged Kozlowski and Swartz of stealing $170 million from Tyco itself and collecting $430 million more by secretly selling company shares as they "artificially" inflated the stock's value, according to The New York Times.

Last week, after the jury complained in a number of notes to the judge that they were having a hard time working together, one of the jurors reportedly made an apparent "OK" hand signal toward the defense on her way into court.

The trial was thrown into chaos by Ruth B. Jordan, a 79-year-old juror who is a retired teacher and New York Law School graduate who had practiced law for a few years, the Times recounted. Jordan first refused to deliberate with the other jurors on any of the 32 counts of larceny and securities fraud. She reportedly said in a note to the judge that the defendants "are being persecuted." Jordan's apparent "OK" sign on Friday drew intense press coverage.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said his office will seek a retrial as early as possible, according to BBC News.

Kozlowski and Swartz still face other possible charges, according to the Times. In a separate New York case, Kozlowski is charged with evading more than $1 million of sales taxes on six paintings he purchased in 2001. Swartz could be facing tax evasion charges in New Hampshire if prosecutors decide to refile charges dropped in 2003 for jurisdictional reasons.




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