Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The lawyer for former Tyco International Ltd. chief executive officer L. Dennis Kozlowski has told the jury his client “never stole a dime from Tyco” and characterized the testimony of the company’s former directors as “revisionist history” aimed at making Kozlowski a “fall guy.” In his closing argument in the five-month Tyco trial, Stephen Kaufman urged the jury not to be prejudiced by what he called “irrelevant” prosecution evidence about Kozlowski’s personal life, including his lavish spending, love affairs and the party he threw on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. “Whether you agree with that lifestyle or you disagree with that lifestyle, it is not a criminal act,” said Kaufman. The summation began after more than a week’s delay due to Kaufman’s illness. He started almost two hours late Monday because a juror fell ill. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus excused the juror and seated an alternate rather than delay further. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has charged Kozlowski and former Tyco chief financial officer Mark Swartz with securities fraud, grand larceny and several other counts. The executives are accused of stealing some $170 million in unauthorized bonuses and loans. Swartz’s lawyer, Charles Stillman, gave his closing argument March 8. He expressed concern to Obus that the unusually long period between his summation and the beginning of jury deliberations might prejudice his client’s case. Stillman said that other lawyers he had consulted did not know what might be done in such a situation. He asked to make a brief rebuttal after the prosecution’s closing argument. Obus said he would consider it. The prosecution, which is expected to give closing arguments today, has built its case largely on the testimony of former Tyco directors and employees. They have said Kozlowski and Swartz misused company loan programs and paid themselves bonuses never approved by the board. Softspoken for most of his summation, Kaufman raised his voice at several points to express outrage at the charges against Kozlowski and contempt for the ex-directors who testified against him. He said that through the 1990s, when Tyco stock soared so high that the company was worth more than General Motors, the directors were more than happy to let Kozlowski do whatever he wanted, including setting his own compensation and paying “investment banking fees” that included a $20 million payment to former director Frank Walsh for facilitating Tyco’s acquisition of the CIT Group Inc. “That’s how Dennis made his money,” said Kaufman. He noted that a Tyco document showed that the company’s annual revenue under Kozlowski grew from $3 billion to more than $30 billion. Now, said Kaufman, the directors, fearful of civil litigation over the collapse of Tyco’s stock, are trying to protect themselves by pinning the blame for it solely on Kozlowski. Kaufman asked jurors to consider Kozlowski’s actions in the context of the time at which they occurred. He noted that the world had changed since the 2001 CIT acquisition, with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and Enron and WorldCom scandals coloring memories of that period. The lawyer noted that Kozlowski never took any actions to conceal his activities, as a thief might be expected to. Kaufman said the absence of any subterfuge demonstrated that Kozlowski was “not a robber but a hard-working, focused CEO.” This article originally appeared in the New York Law Journal , a publication of American Lawyer Media.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.