In making the request to have the term explained again, the panel asked state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus to "go slowly."
The judge told the jurors: "A defendant is not guilty of larceny if he believes he had the authority to take the property."
"If he is aware that he is not authorized to take the property, then taking the property is a crime," Obus added.
The jurors finished deliberating for the day without reaching a verdict and were to continue Wednesday.
Last Friday, under protest from prosecutors, Obus informed the jury that criminal intent was meant to describe a defendant's state of mind, and that there was no separate definition of the term.
"That's what the law says," Obus told the prosecution on Friday. "I know you're not crazy about it, but we just work here."
Tyco's former chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz are charged with 32 total counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and violating state business laws. They each could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors say Kozlowski, 57, and Swartz, 43, stole $170 million from Tyco to finance their lavish lifestyles by taking unauthorized bonuses and abusing company loan programs. They say the two netted an additional $430 million by pumping up Tyco stock prices and selling their shares at market rates from 1995 through 2002.
The defense argued that the men earned every dime 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's defense team rested without calling any witnesses.
Jurors also began hearing a readback Tuesday of testimony on forgiven loans to the defendants: $25 million to Kozlowski and $12.5 million to Swartz. The jury had requested the readback of testimony by Marian Tse, an outside attorney for Tyco, about whether the forgiven loans needed to be listed as the defendants' income on a proxy statement that was seen by shareholders.
In her testimony, Tse said she would consider Swartz's $12.5 million loan forgiveness "a bonus that would have to be disclosed." She also said, "In my view, any loan forgiveness would have to be disclosed in the proxy statement."
On Monday, the jury spent the day rehearing Swartz's testimony about the $12.5 million loan he was forgiven in lieu of part of a bonus.
Jurors will receive evidence Wednesday that they requested late Tuesday about Tyco's New York and Florida relocation program and an improper $20 million finder's fee paid to a company board member, the judge said.
During the nearly six-month trial, jurors heard from 47 witnesses and saw more than 700 exhibits, including videotapes of a birthday bacchanal on a Mediterranean island and an $18 million Fifth Avenue apartment with a $6,000 shower curtain in the maid's room.
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.
By Samuel Maull