Adelphia Execs' Fraud Trial Begins


“It’s good to get going.” That was the assessment of John Rigas on the first day of jury selection in the fraud trial of four former executives of Adelphia Communications Corp., including Rigas and two sons, Tim and Michael.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand, one-dozen defense lawyers and two federal prosecutors started the slow process of interviewing potential jurors for what is expected to be a three-month trial in New York City.

The jury pool had filled out a 25-page questionnaire last month asking about possible conflicts of interest or biases they might have.

Sand eliminated some potential jurors for cause, one because he doesn’t read English very well. Much of the case will hinge of bank loan agreements, memos and securities filings.

After picking about 40 jurors, lawyers for both sides will dig through to see who they might want to throw out using their “preemptory” challenges.

Lawyers for the four defendants can each disqualify four jurors. Prosecutors get 11 challenges. One sure target: the assistant to the president of a $1 billion hedge fund who Sand approved over the objection of two defense lawyers.
Jury selection is expected to take four days.