Courtroom sensation as Tyco case is kicked out

The United States government suffered a serious setback in its mission to crack down on corporate crime when the judge in the case against Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International, declared a mistrial following revelations that a member of the jury had received a threatening letter from the public.

The United States government suffered a serious setback in its mission to crack down on corporate crime when the judge in the case against Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International, declared a mistrial following revelations that a member of the jury had received a threatening letter from the public.

The collapse of the six-month-long trial bought gasps through the courtroom in lower Manhattan. Prosecutors immediately indicated that they would begin seeking a date for a new trial against Mr Kozlowski and his co-defendant, Mark Swartz, the former CFO of the conglomerate.

The two men were accused of looting $600m (£328m) from the company, which makes everything from coat hangers to under-sea telecommunications cables. Had they been found guilty, each might have faced 30 years in prison. Indeed, the Tyco case, which at times seem like a reality television glimpse into the world of corporate excess and indulgence, had become emblematic of the government's attempts to make examples of white-collar wrong-doers and bring them to justice.

Trouble had brewing for some time, however. Midway through their 12 days of deliberations, jurors sent a note to Judge Michael Obus indicating they were being stymied by one hold-out juror, who was apparently blocking guilty verdicts. They said the atmosphere had turned "poisonous".

Worse was to come the following day, however, when media outlets reported spotting one of the jurors making what appeared to be an "OK" sign with her fingers to the members of the defence team. The gesture was reported widely. Moreover, both the New York Post and the online edition of the Wall Street Journal broke with convention and named the woman in their reports.

It was yesterday morning, when Judge Obus learned that overnight, the juror had received what was said to be either a threatening or coercive letter from the public.

After receiving all the lawyers involved in the trial, he returned to the courtroom to declare the mistrial. "It is certainly a shame that this has to be done at this time," the judge told the jurors, many of whom wore faces of obvious chagrin. Mr Kozlowski, 57, and Mr Swartz, looked ashen-faced. Leaving the courthouse afterwards with his wife, Mr Kozlowski said he felt "relieved".

Only weeks ago, the government won a conviction against the domestic living guru, Martha Stewart, for lying to investigators about a share transaction. Her case seemed to set a tone for further high-profile cases that are just around the corner against former executives of WorldCom and Enron.

The role the two media outlets played in naming the juror will is now be hotly debated. In an interview with CNN, another juror seemed to suggest the jury had been on the brink of finding the defendants guilty on Thursday, adding to the sense of frustration felt by the prosecutors.

The New York Post, as well as naming juror number four, referred to her last weekend as a "batty blueblood" under a headline that read "Ms Trial". Yesterday, Judge Obus sought to remove any responsibility from the juror. "There has been no finding that this juror has done anything wrong", he said, declaring the mistrial. "A great disservice may have been done to her and her family".

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor