Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Westar jury completes 2nd day of deliberations

December 14, 2004

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— Jurors in the federal fraud trial of two former Westar Energy Inc. executives finished their second day of deliberations Monday without issuing a verdict.

The six-man, six-woman jury received the case Dec. 7 after seven weeks of testimony. After deliberating all day Wednesday, the jurors took Thursday and Friday off.

During Monday's discussions, jurors twice sent questions to U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson about the verdict forms they must fill out for each defendant. In each case, she told them to carefully read the forms' instructions.

Former Westar chief executive David Wittig and former executive vice president Douglas Lake each face 40 charges connected to the alleged looting of the largest electric utility in Kansas. The charges include wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and circumvention of internal controls and could bring each man at least 10 years in prison.

Wittig and Lake have denied wrongdoing, saying their actions were approved by the company's board of directors.

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