Judge OKs Retrial Of Mike Rigas

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Sand rejected arguments from attorneys for former Adelphia Communications Corp. executive Michael Rigas to dismiss the federal charges against him, paving the way for a second trial.

Michael Rigas was found not guilty of one count of conspiracy and five counts of wire fraud after a five-month trial that ended in July. But the jury could not reach a decision on two counts of bank fraud and 15 counts of securities fraud levied against the former executive vice president of operations.

At an Oct. 26 hearing, Judge Sand agreed to drop the bank-fraud charges against Michael Rigas.

According to Bloomberg News, members of the jury interviewed after the July trial said they were 9 to 3 in favor of acquitting Michael Rigas.

Rigas’s lawyers objected to a retrial, claiming that because Rigas was acquitted of the conspiracy charge, he could not be found guilty of the securities fraud.

Sand, in a decision issued Nov. 1, rejected that claim, adding that Michael Rigas could have signed false financial documents and disclosures without participating in the conspiracy of his father, former Adelphia chairman John Rigas, and his brother former Adelphia chief financial officer Timothy Rigas.

John and Timothy Rigas were found guilty of 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy in July. Attorneys for John and Tim Rigas have moved to have those convictions overturned. Pending a decision from Judge Sand, their sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

No date has been set for Michael Rigas’s retrial.