NEW YORK – The judge in the corruption case of two former Tyco International (TYC) executives declared a mistrial Friday after 12 days of deliberations, saying he had no choice given outside pressure brought on an apparent holdout juror.
"It is certainly a shame that this has to be done at this time," state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus told jurors after announcing his decision.
A gasp rippled across the courtroom when the judge announced the mistrial on what would have been the 12th day of deliberations. Several jurors looked chagrined.
"We literally were within minutes" of reaching a verdict, juror Peter McEntegart told CNN. "That's difficult for me right now." He said it would have been a split verdict, convicting on some counts and acquitting on others.
Prosecutors said they would seek a retrial against former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski (search) and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz (search), who were accused of looting the conglomerate of $600 million and could have gotten up to 30 years in prison.
The jurors did not comment as they left the courthouse on a bus, though the judge said they were free to talk to the media.
Juror No. 4 arrived at her Manhattan apartment about 75 minutes after the mistrial was declared. Escorted by court officers, she was whisked past a horde of reporters and cameras without making any comment.
Juror No. 4 became the subject of intense media scrutiny last week after some news organizations reported she made an "OK" gesture toward the defense as she passed by the lawyers.
The apparent holdout juror's identity was later revealed by two news organizations and became the topic of scathing Internet chatter -- two developments the defense used to press their cause for a mistrial.
The trial came amid a spate of major cases involving corporate corruption. During the trial, federal prosecutors brought criminal charges against former executives of WorldCom (search) and Enron, and Martha Stewart (search) was convicted in a stock scandal just blocks away.
The case exposed a culture of greed at the very top at Tyco, a conglomerate that makes everything from coat hangers to undersea fiber-optic cable.
Prosecutors said Tyco picked up all or part of the tab for a long list of extravagances, among them: a $2 million toga-party birthday bacchanal for Kozlowski's wife on a Mediterranean island, and $15 million worth of furnishings that included a $15,000 umbrella holder, a $2,200 gilt metal trash basket and a $6,000 shower curtain.
Kozlowski's lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, said all sides would return to court May 7 to set a date.
"We're disappointed because of the events that occurred outside the courtroom that this case did not reach a verdict," said Kaufman, who declined to answer any questions.
Swartz attorney Charles Stillman said they were "disappointed" in the mistrial decision.
The government accused Kozlowski and Swartz of stealing $170 million by hiding unauthorized bonuses and secretly forgiving loans to themselves. They also were accused of stealing an additional $430 million by pumping up Tyco stock by lying about the company's finances.
The defense argued that the two had earned every dime and that the board of directors and auditors knew about the compensation and never objected.
The case at times seemed more like an episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" than a criminal trial.
The jury was given a videotaped tour of an $18 million, Tyco-owned apartment on Fifth Avenue where Kozlowski lived while in the city. The flat included paintings by Monet and Renoir.
The jurors were also shown an edited videotape of the party that Kozlowski threw for his wife Karen's 40th birthday on the Italian island of Sardinia. It featured a performance by singer Jimmy Buffett and scantily clad young men and women dancing and serving, with men dressed as Roman soldiers and women as Roman maidens.
The edited tape did not show R-rated scenes of an anatomically correct ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David squirting vodka into glasses, or the cake in the shape of a nude with a sparkler atop each of her breasts.
Kozlowski still faces charges from 2002, when he was accused of evading more than $1 million in New York state sales tax on $13 million worth of art hanging on the walls of the Fifth Avenue apartment.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.