Attorney Charles Stillman, reading from prepared notes during his six hour closing argument, told the jury that his client “never believed for a nanosecond that he was doing anything wrong” and advised them to take the prosecution’s fraud case “and throw it out the window.”
The trial of Swartz and his one-time boss, former Tyco International Ltd Chairman Dennis Kozlowski, marks one of the largest corporate corruption cases in U.S. history and has brought new attention to the scandals that roiled the business world and drained pension funds in recent years.
Stillman conceded early in his summation that bonuses paid to Swartz were often “extremely large” and even “staggering,” but said that the case was not about his client’s lifestyle, how much money he made or where he lived.
“It’s not about whether Tyco’s system of corporate governance is good, bad or somewhere in the middle,” he continued. “At its core, this case is about whether Mark Swartz stole significant amounts of money from the company.”
Swartz and Kozlowski — once acclaimed for building Tyco into a top diversified manufacturer — could each face up to 30 years in state prison if convicted of looting the company of $600 million.
But Stillman sought to convince jurors who sat through 700 prosecution exhibits and 48 witnesses that his client never tried to hide, lie about or cover up any of the bonuses he was paid or loans he received.
“Where is there even one thimbleful of evidence that Mark acted with criminal intent?” Stillman said. “Witness after witness we asked these questions. The answer was always a resounding ‘No.”‘
Swartz, who chatted with his children and parents during breaks, appeared relaxed throughout closing arguments as his lawyer told jurors that the board simply failed to make a record of its approval of the loans and bonuses.
The board held 37 meetings in which no minutes were recorded, even at one session where it discussed an improper $20 million payment to then-director Frank Walsh and a plan to split Tyco into four companies, Stillman said.