Jury Asks for Rereading of Early Testimony
NEW YORK (AP) _ The jury weighing the fate of Imelda Marcos and Adnan Khashoggi plunged into its work Friday, asking for a review of early testimony and clarification of the law against racketeering.
The jurors listened as clerks read from the transcript concerning Mrs. Marcos’ efforts to buy a Fifth Avenue office building for about $50 million in 1981.
The Crown Building was the first of four Manhattan properties prosecutors say the former Philippine first lady and her late husband, President Ferdinand Marcos, bought with money stolen from their country’s treasury.
The purchase was the basis for the first of 12 racketeering charges against Mrs. Marcos. The others allege that large sums of money were transferred to acquire the other three buildings and an art collection and that U.S. banks were defrauded in the deals.
U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan sent the case to the jury on Thursday after 2 1/2 months of testimony by 95 witnesses, all for the government. Thousands of documents were entered as exhibits.
Keenan has sequestered the jury.
On Friday, Mrs. Marcos, who turns 61 Monday, and Khashoggi, a 54-year-old Saudi Arabian financier, waited in rooms nearby, and returned to the courtroom whenever Keenan brought the jury back.
In addition to the racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges against Mrs. Marcos, she and Khashoggi are accused of mail fraud and obstructing justice.
Mrs. Marcos’ attorneys argued that she was unfamiliar with her husband’s financial activities and couldn’t know that any of the money she spent was stolen. Prosecutors said that as a government minister and mayor of Manila she knew what was going on.
The government says Khashoggi faked documents to help the Marcoses conceal their ownership of the Manhattan buildings and some paintings after a U.S. court order froze their assets in 1986, following Marcos’ fall from power in Manila. Khashoggi’s lawyers contended he did not know about the injunction.
Mrs. Marcos faces up to 50 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted. Khashoggi could draw a 10-year term and fines up to $500,000.
In the testimony reread to the jury, Oscar Carino, then manager of the New York branch of the Philippine National Bank, recalled that Marcos ordered him in September 1981 to buy the Crown Building, canceled the deal, then reversed himself again under apparent pressure from his wife.
Carino quoted a close friend of Mrs. Marcos as saying she ″cried to him″ and asked that he buy it for her as ″pamana,″ the Tagalog word for gift or inheritance.
Keenan also read to jurors the entire list of witnesses, but refused to let them hear a re-reading of summations by defense and prosecuting attorneys, saying that the statements were not evidence.