Adelphia Defense Pokes Holes in Coyle’s Testimony

New York -- Attorneys for the defendants in the federal fraud trial of four former Adelphia Communications Corp. executives hammered away at former Adelphia director Dennis Coyle, managing to discredit one of the key points in his testimony.

Coyle had testified last week that the Rigas family was in violation of loan covenants connected to several co-borrowing agreements mainly because the leverage ratios for the family partnerships tied to those loans were several times higher than allowed.

But Coyle testified last Thursday that he was mistaken, and that the co-borrowings were not in violation of the coverage because the leverage ratios required were for combined Rigas family and Adelphia entities. Those ratios were well within the compliance limits.

Lawyers for the defense moved to strike Coyle’s entire testimony, arguing that it was based on false assumptions. U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Sand denied that motion but added that the miscue presented no tactical advantage for the government.

"It [the advantage] slants in a different direction," Sand said. "The jury knows this expert lawyer and director reached these conclusions without adequate knowledge."

Sand later said the defense could bring up the matter again at a motion for mistrial. He added that he was not suggesting what the result of such a motion would be.