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Tyco Jury Examines 'Criminal Intent'

Mar 19, 2004 | AP

Jurors in the Tyco International trial were opening their second day of deliberations waiting to hear from a judge how the law defines criminal intent.

The jury began digesting hundreds of exhibits and nearly four dozen witnesses from the five-month trial to determine whether two former Tyco executives looted the company of hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a note before ending their first day of deliberations Thursday, the jurors asked for an explanation of the term "criminal intent." The judge said he would explain Friday.

L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's former chief executive officer, and Mark H. Swartz, the former chief financial officer, are charged with a total of 32 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and violating state business laws. They each could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

During the trial, which opened Oct. 7, jurors heard 47 witnesses and saw more than 700 exhibits that included two videotapes of a birthday bacchanal on a Mediterranean island and an $18 million Fifth Avenue apartment that had a $6,000 shower curtain in the maid's room.

The panel on Thursday sent State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus a note less than 10 minutes after it started deliberations, asking for a chart prosecutors used during summations to list 68 overt acts they say the defendants committed as part of their conspiracy to steal.

Obus, who read the alleged overt acts during his final instructions on the law, denied the request, saying the chart was not a formal piece of evidence but merely a visual aid. The judge told the jurors he would read any or all of the list if they requested.

Obus instructed the jury that repayment of allegedly stolen money was not a defense to larceny "if the defendant acted with the requisite larcenous intent at the time of the taking."

At the same time, the judge said, not repaying money that was allegedly stolen does not necessarily mean that it was, in fact, stolen.

Prosecutors say Kozlowski, 57, and Swartz, 43, stole $170 million by taking unauthorized bonuses and by abusing company loan programs. They say the two netted another $430 million by pumping up Tyco stock prices and selling their shares at market rates from 1995 through 2002.

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