New Trial Set for Ex-Tyco Executives Kozlowski, Swartz

January 18 is the date set by New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus to retry former Tyco executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz on corruption charges. Their first trial ended in mistrial more than two months ago.

Kozlowski and Swartz, Tyco's former CEO and CFO, respectively, are accused of looting Tyco of about $600 million. The charges against them include grand larceny, securities fraud and possession of stolen property, among other crimes. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A juror in the first trial received what was later determined to be a threatening letter from a man not involved with the case. The incident led to the April 2 mistrial, CNN/Money reported.

The new trial date was originally supposed to be set last Friday, but state and federal offices in New York were closed to observe Ronald Reagan’s death.

On Monday, at the hearing to set the new trial date, Obus denied a request by the two defendants to dismiss three grand larceny counts against them.

However, in a setback for prosecutors, Obus dismissed 7 of 14 counts against Kozlowski in a separate but related case involving his purchase of impressionist artwork for which he did not pay sales tax. In June 2002 a grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy and various tax crimes. This initial indictment later led to the more serious charges against Kozlowski and Swartz. Prosecutors are now waiting to hear whether Obus will combine the government’s now-diminished tax case against Kozlowski with the larger case against Kozlowski and Swartz, CNN/Money reported.

"This is good news for the defense only in that the government really has struggled to bring as much as possible about the art purchases into the case," Jonathan Turley, a criminal defense lawyer and George Washington University law professor, told CNN/Money. "Whether or not they [prosecutors] give a damn about the art or the shower curtain, they know it poisons the well for the jury."

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