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Judge Clears Cheney, Halliburton

Vice President Dick Cheney, shown with the logo of the Halliburton Co., the oil field services giant he lead as chairman and chief executive from 1995 to 2000, and, an accounting ledger, calculator and pencil.
AP / CBS
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused Halliburton Co. and Vice President Dick Cheney, its former chief executive, of misleading investors by changing the way the company counted revenue from construction projects, the company said Monday.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, on behalf of three small investors, who said the company tried to polish financial results by booking revenue on cost overruns before it was certain of getting paid.

In dismissing the lawsuit, Halliburton said U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay said the lawsuit didn't prove that the company's accounting practices were wrong or that it falsely reported its revenue.

Halliburton lawyers argued for dismissing the case during a 90-minute hearing in July. The company called the charges "untrue, unsupported and unfounded."

Halliburton lawyer Ronald W. Stevens said the company disclosed what it was doing in filings with regulators and that there was no evidence of fraud. He accused Judicial Watch of trying to score political points by naming Cheney as a defendant.

Houston-based Halliburton announced in May that it would pay $6 million to settle about 20 other shareholder class-action lawsuits that raised similar arguments to those used by Judicial Watch. Those lawsuits did not name Cheney as a defendant.

Cheney served as Halliburton's top executive from 1995 until resigning in 2000 to become George W. Bush's running mate.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is still investigating Halliburton's decision in 1998 to change the way it accounted for revenue on cost-overrun projects.

In morning trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, Halliburton shares rose 29 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $24.79.