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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Appeals Court Leans Toward Double Jeopardy In Rigas Case

Court Rules Second Rigas Trial
May Amount to Double Jeopardy

A U.S. appeals court says taking John and Timothy Rigas to trial a second time may amount to double jeopardy.

The Adelphia Communications founder and his son are already serving sentences for fraud and conspiracy convictions in New York. John Rigas is serving a 12-year prison term and Timothy Rigas a 17-year term. Prosecutors say they defrauded the former Coudersport company out of $1.9 billion.

The Justice Department wants to prosecute them a second time in Pennsylvania for alleged failure to pay taxes on that money, a charge that wasn’t filed in the first case.

But a 7-4 majority of 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals judges say the two cases stem from one criminal conspiracy with overlapping acts and participants. They have ordered the trial judge to review the record with that in mind.