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Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

Westar trial going into jurors’ hands

August 18, 2005

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— Testimony in the federal fraud retrial of two former Westar Energy Inc. executives ended Wednesday, and the case will go to jurors next week.

Prosecutors are scheduled to begin their closing arguments Tuesday, with defense attorneys for former Westar chief executive David Wittig and former chief strategic officer Douglas Lake speaking the following day.

Wittig and Lake are facing 40 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and circumventing internal controls. Prosecutors say the two executives looted the Topeka-based utility of millions of dollars in inflated salary, stock options and other benefits, including using company planes for personal trips and attempting to spin off the company's nonregulated businesses to a separate company they would have controlled.

The two have denied wrongdoing, saying their actions were not illegal, but were approved by Westar board of directors and disclosed in regulatory filings.

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