Court Upholds Most of Verdict Against Rigases in Adelphia Case

The conviction of Adelphia Communicationsfounder John Rigas and his son on fraud charges was upheld by a federal appeals court in New York City.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of the 82-year-old Rigas and his son, Timothy Riga son charges of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. The court reversed the conviction on a single, lesser charge.

The prosecutor had no comment on the decision; lawyers for the Rigases did not immediately return calls.

Adelphia was the country's fifth-largest cable television company serving more than 5 million customers in 31 states when it was based in Pennsylvania. It collapsed into bankruptcy in 2002 after the company disclosed more than $2 billion in off-balance-sheet debt.

Last year, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, a unit of Time Warner, bought Adelphia's cable assets.

Lawyers for the two men had argued that fraud charges should be thrown out because accounting terms were not explained to the jury.

The men were convicted in July 2004 after a jury rejected their defense that they were properly following accounting rules when they engaged in transactions that the government said were fraudulent.

John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Timothy Rigas, the company's former chief financial officer, was sentenced to 20 years. Both are free pending appeal because a judge decided that the question of whether an accounting expert should have been put before the jury was novel.