Tyco Judge Puts Jury Back To Work

Former Tyco chief executive officer L. Dennis Kozlowski, left, and Andrew Kaufman, one of his attorneys, arrive at Manhattan State Supreme Court for the sixth day of jury deliberations in his case, Thursday March 25, 2004, New York.
AP
The judge in the trial of two former Tyco International executives denied renewed mistrial motions on Friday, saying he didn't believe the jury was hopelessly deadlocked despite notes suggesting discord.

Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said a note Thursday from the jurors "is not the best note we ever got." But he added that he didn't believe there was a hopeless deadlock.

The jurors told the judge Thursday that a "poisonous" atmosphere and "incendiary accusations" had permeated their deliberations.

The notes, on the sixth day of deliberations, portrayed a jury in danger of imploding, divided by insults and hard feelings.

"The disagreement is so intense that it has resulted in a very bad acrimony. ... Perhaps this jury cannot continue. What shall we do?" one note asked.

One or more jurors "does not have an open mind," said one note.

One member of the jury, a note said, "had stopped deliberating in good faith."

"The majority of us believe we could reach a fair conclusion without the presence of this juror," the note said.

Jurors also were swapping "incendiary accusations ... that we believe have compromised the fairness of the process," the note continued.

"This is terrible news for prosecutors who spent months and months trying to convince these same jurors that the defendants were greedy criminals who deserved to be convicted," says CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "If this jury is as bitterly divided as it now appears to be maybe the judge should declare it hung and require prosecutors to retry the men if they so choose.

"The law doesn't allow any judge to force a jury into a verdict they do not wish to reach unanimously. If prosecutors couldn't gain a conviction in this case after a six-month trial, and these sorts of allegations, maybe there is something wrong with their case or the way they presented it."

Jurors sat through five months of testimony before deliberations in the case against Kozlowski and Swartz even began.

The notes came seemingly out of the blue. Earlier, the jurors had asked the court to "indulge us with more time" before they returned to the courtroom to hear a readback of testimony.

"With your kind permission, we would like to let you know when we are ready - hopefully today," the note concluded.

Swartz, 43, and Kozlowski, 57, are charged with 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. The two allegedly took unauthorized bonuses and abused company loan programs and used the money to finance lavish lifestyles.

The defense argued that the two men earned the money and that the board of directors and the company's auditors knew about the compensation and never objected. Kozlowski once made more than $100 million in one year.

Swartz testified that he did not do anything he believed was illegal. He said he and Kozlowski received bonuses and had their loans forgiven at many informal company board meetings at which no minutes were recorded. Kozlowski did not testify.

Prosecutors alleged that some of the looted money was used to purchase and decorate an $18 million Manhattan apartment Kozlowski used. The opulent residence was home to amenities that included a $15,000 umbrella stand and a $6,000 shower curtain.

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. Its operations headquarters are in West Windsor, N.J., but the company is based in Bermuda.