Rigas Jurors Receiving Instructions from Judge

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After four months of testimony, jurors in the trial of four former Adelphia Communications Corp. executives began receiving their instructions from the court Thursday on how to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendants.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Sand began reading his instructions to jurors -- a practice that is expected to last into Friday afternoon. After that, they are expected to begin their deliberations.

Former Adelphia chairman John Rigas, his sons -- former chief financial officer Timothy Rigas and former executive vice president of operations Michael -- and former assistant treasurer Michael Mulcahey are accused of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy. All four men have pleaded not guilty.

Assistant U.S. attorney Richard Owens wrapped up his closing statement to jurors Thursday morning, urging them to find the defendants guilty on all charges. He especially focused on Michael Rigas, who did not appear to play as central a role in the fraud as his brother and father did, according to testimony.

But Owens said Michael Rigas was just as much a part of the fraud as his co-defendants. Among the charges: The Rigases used $1.6 billion in loans that Adelphia was liable for to pay for purchasing stock.

“It makes absolutely no sense that they would not have had a conversation about, ‘How are we going to meet our obligation to pay for this stock?’” Owens said.

“Michael Rigas never came home from work and said, ‘Gee, dad, by the way, how are we going to pay for that?’” Owens added. “Michael Rigas never said, ‘Gee, Tim, have you thought about how we’re going to pay for this stock?’”

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