Adelphia Former Execs Say Prosecution Erred By Not Calling Accounting Expert Witnesses

Former Adelphia executives John and Tim Rigas filed a petition Wednesday to have their case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Adelphia former chairman John Rigas was sentenced in 2005 to 15 years in prison and his son, former chief financial officer Timothy Rigas was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result of their 2004 convictions on 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy. The Rigases contend that the government erred by not calling accounting expert witnesses during the criminal trial. Broadcast Newsroom also reports:

‘Plaintiffs who bring civil securities fraud cases are subject to a clear and well-established rule. If the case turns on accounting issues outside the knowledge of lay jurors, the plaintiff as the party bearing the burden of proof must call expert witnesses,’ the Rigases attorneys claim…

The Rigases claim the lower appeals court made a mistake in holding that GAAP rules ‘do not govern’ in a securities fraud case and that compliance with GAAP is relevant only as evidence on an issue of good faith. The Rigases contend those statements contradict rulings in several different courts that ‘the SEC requires companies to prepare their public financial statements in conformity with GAAP.’