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Ex-Adelphia Exec to Plead Guilty

Nov 14, 2002 | Wall Street Journal In a development that could help the government's case against the Rigas family members who founded Adelphia Communications Corp., the company's former vice president for finance is scheduled to plead guilty and has agreed to testify against the family members, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

James R. Brown's expected plea could be especially damaging to Timothy J. Rigas, son of Adelphia founder John J. Rigas, because Mr. Brown reported directly to Timothy Rigas when Mr. Rigas was Adelphia's chief financial officer, the people said. Mr. Brown is cooperating in the case against all three Rigas family members charged in the case.

The elder Mr. Rigas, along with sons Timothy J. and Michael J., were indicted by a federal grand jury in September and charged with looting the company for hundreds of millions of dollars in a massive scheme to defraud investors. The family members were first charged in a criminal complaint in July, when they were rousted from their company-owned apartment on New York's upper East Side in an early morning arrest that drew criticism from defense lawyers.

A lawyer for Mr. Brown, Howard Heiss, didn't return telephone calls. The Rigas family members have pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing. Jeremy Temkin, a lawyer for Timothy Rigas, declined to comment Wednesday. Lawyers for John J. Rigas and Michael Rigas didn't return telephone calls.

Although lawyers for the Rigas family members have held talks with prosecutors, the family members have indicated no desire to plead guilty and are planning to take the case to trial, people familiar with the case said. That makes the testimony of Mr. Brown especially important because the family members appear to be sticking together in their defense.

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