Jurors in Tyco trial focus on 'criminal intent'

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

NEW YORK -- The jurors in the grand-larceny trial of two former Tyco International executives focused again on the concept of "criminal intent" Tuesday during their fourth day of deliberations. They asked the judge to explain the term -- the second such request since deliberations began -- and urged him to "go slowly" when giving the explanation. Justice Michael Obus, as he did Friday, told the jurors: "A defendant is not guilty of larceny if he believes he had the authority to take the property." The jurors finished deliberating Tuesday evening without reaching a verdict and were to continue today.

Former Tyco chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski, 57, and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz, 43, are accused of looting the conglomerate of $600 million. They could get up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Swartz testified that he did not do anything he believed was illegal. The defense also argued that the two had earned every dime and that the company's auditors and board of directors knew about the compensation and never objected.

Prosecutors said the pair stole $170 million by taking unauthorized bonuses and abusing company loan programs, and netted an additional $430 million by pumping up Tyco's stock price and selling their holdings.

Tyco, which has about 270,000 employees and $36 billion in annual revenue, makes electronics and medical supplies and owns the ADT home security business.

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