Archive for Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wittig co-defendant set free during appeal

May 13, 2006

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— A federal appeals court on Friday said Douglas Lake, the former Westar Energy Inc. executive found guilty of looting the Topeka-based utility with his boss, David Wittig, can stay out of prison while appealing his conviction.

Meanwhile, federal prison officials have sent Wittig, Westar's former chief executive, to begin serving his sentence in an unrelated bank fraud case at a prison in northern Minnesota.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said it determined that Lake had raised substantial questions in his appeal and should be granted release.

The decision essentially overturns U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who denied both Lake and Wittig's requests for release during sentencing last month.

Robinson sentenced Lake to 15 years in prison. She sentenced Wittig to 18 years in prison. Both men also were ordered to pay $5 million in fines.

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