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9th day for jury in Tyco trial

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NEW YORK — Jurors at the Tyco International corporate-looting trial began hearing a lengthy readback Tuesday of testimony from former chief financial officer Mark Swartz about $72 million in bonuses given to him and the company's former CEO.

The jury had first requested the readback last week, then asked the judge to delay it because they were making progress in the jury room. Deliberations later broke down in infighting, nearly bringing the case to a mistrial.

But jurors continued their deliberations for a ninth day, also hearing a brief readback of testimony Swartz gave about a conversation with former chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski about loan forgiveness.

Swartz and Kozlowski are accused of stealing $170 million to finance their lavish lifestyles by taking unauthorized bonuses and abusing company loan programs. Prosecutors say the two netted an additional $430 million by pumping up Tyco stock prices and selling their shares at market rates from 1995 through 2002.

The defense argued that the two men earned every dime and that the board of directors and the company's auditors knew about the compensation and never objected.

Swartz testified that he did not do anything he believed was illegal. He said he and Kozlowski received bonuses and had their loans forgiven at many informal company board meetings at which no minutes were recorded. Kozlowski did not testify.

State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said the readback of Swartz testimony, which began just before 3:30 p.m., would likely stretch into today, meaning a 10th day of deliberations was likely.

Earlier in the day, a defense lawyer complained that a heavily scrutinized juror has been the subject of venomous attacks in Internet chat rooms. Juror No. 4 has been depicted in the press as a holdout for acquittal of Kozlowski and Swartz.

"It is staggering, sir, to understand the venomous and outrageous statements made about this juror in that environment," said Charles Stillman, a lawyer for Swartz. He did not elaborate or say which Internet chat rooms he was referencing.

Obus said he would consider the matter later. On Monday, the judge rejected a motion for a mistrial that was based on defense complaints that some news organizations had named the juror.

Juror No. 4 became the object of intense scrutiny when some media organizations reported that she had made an "OK" gesture directed at the defense while walking to the jury box on Friday.

The New York Post featured a sketch on its Saturday cover depicting her making a clear "OK" gesture. Yet what gesture she made, or whether she intended to gesture at all, was in dispute. An Associated Press reporter witnessed the gesture but did not interpret it as an "OK" sign.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers both said they had not seen it, and the defense claimed prosecutors were only aware of it because they'd been alerted by reporters.

Obus said Monday he had spoken with the juror, a 79-year-old woman, and determined that she could continue to deliberate properly.

Swartz and Kozlowski are charged with 32 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and violating state business laws. They each could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.