NEW YORK - Former Tyco International Ltd Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kozlowski, imprisoned for up to 25 years for stealing from the company, is seeking to be released early.
In a habeas corpus petition dated Monday in Manhattan federal court, lawyers for Kozlowski argued that the New York state court in which he was tried violated his rights by not granting him access before trial to exculpatory evidence.
The filing is Kozlowski's latest attempt to win freedom. Two state courts have rejected his appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court in June declined to hear appeals by him and Mark Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer.
In 2005 a jury found Kozlowski and Swartz guilty of securities fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records after prosecutors accused them of stealing more than $150 million from Tyco.
Both men were imprisoned in August 2005 after being sentenced to 8-1/3 years to 25 years.
The case made Kozlowski a symbol of corporate greed, epitomized by spending on such things as a $6,000 shower curtain, a $15,000 umbrella stand and a $2 million birthday party for his wife.
Monday's petition named New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the superintendent of Kozlowski's prison as defendants.
It said Kozlowski was deprived of his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It said a subpoena for important, potentially exculpatory evidence was wrongly quashed and led to an unfair trial.
The right is violated when a defendant is deprived of access to evidence that is material to his defense, the petition said. It argued that a New York court had ruled that the evidence was likely to contradict prosecution testimony.
The case is Kozlowski v Hulihan 09-7583 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) (Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by John Wallace)