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Ex-Tyco Director's Notes Allowed in Trial

Jan 14, 2004 | AP

A portion of an ex-Tyco International Ltd. director's notes were allowed into evidence Wednesday in the trial of the company's former top two executives.

After three days of sometimes contentious arguments, Judge Michael Obus allowed defense attorneys to introduce notes of William Peter Slusser from two meetings in 2000 and one in 1997.

Defense attorneys had originally objected to the prosecution's request that Slusser's notes from much of his time on the board of directors be introduced. Slusser was a director from 1997 until early 2003, joining the board after Bermuda-based conglomerate Tyco acquired ADT.

But in something of a change of heart, Charles Stillman, an attorney for Mark Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer, said Slusser's notes were a record of his "past recollection" and should be allowed.

Stillman had spent much of Tuesday quizzing Slusser on specifics of meetings of the board and its compensation committee.

During much of his testimony, Slusser, who took copious notes of board meetings and conversations with other directors, said he needed to refer to his notes to help his recollection of events at Tyco.

Swartz and L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's ex-chairman and chief executive, are on trial in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, charged with improperly using Tyco funds to enrich themselves and others. Each faces up to 30 years in prison. They have denied wrongdoing.

Marc Scholl, an assistant district attorney, renewed his request Wednesday to introduce all of the notes. That request was denied by Obus, who said Scholl hadn't laid the proper foundation for all of the notes to be entered.

Meanwhile, Stillman pressed Slusser on the months before Swartz left the company.

Swartz hosted weekly conference calls with investors, financial analysts and the media during a troubling period for Tyco between February and April 2002. Slusser said he never had any indication that Swartz gave false statements in those calls.

"I believe he did a good job," Swartz said.

Under questioning from James DeVita, an attorney for Kozlowski, Slusser also said that Swartz and Kozlowski turned down a number of option grants in their time with the company.

Defense attorneys have suggested that Kozlowski and Swartz didn't need to steal from Tyco, particularly since they turned down or deferred compensation during their tenure.

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