After 27 witnesses, 860 exhibits and 67 days of testimony, jurors in the retrial of L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International, and his lieutenant, Mark H. Swartz, will hear closing arguments today in a case that began in January and has gone comparatively unnoticed at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, reports the New York Times. The facts were unchanged from the first trial, which took six months and ended in a mistrial after a juror holding out for an acquittal made what appeared to be an “O.K.” signal to the defense and subsequently received a threatening letter from a stranger. But this trial proved to be a very different production in which major scenes were completely rewritten.
This time the prosecution put on a decidedly stronger case by focusing on the charges of grand larceny and throwing out much of the entertaining testimony about Mr. Kozlowski’s conspicuous consumption. Those tales made the first trial fodder for the tabloids, but they backfired badly with jurors, who said such details were beside the point. But the biggest difference between the trials was the testimony on Kozlowski himself, who did not take the witness stand at the first. “It injected a huge new factor into the case,” said Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at McCarter & English. “Either you believe him or you don’t. Even though his testimony came at the very end of the trial, it may be the first issue the jury deals with.” By virtually all accounts, Kozlowski did well. He was forthright, took responsibility for his actions and was rarely evasive. He did not pursue a know-nothing defense.