Blogs & Comment

Livent: The Trial That Just Keeps on Going

The criminal fraud trial of Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb is starting to look a lot like the 7-Eleven of court cases. This trial, just like the ubiquitous convenience stores that dot the roadside, never seems to close. The hopes of prosecutors that they could finally wrap up their case last Friday were dashed when defence lawyers’ cross examination of two KPMG investigators who originally seized the mountains of internal Livent documents dragged into this week.

Hopes that the case would be completed by Tuesday were dashed when prosecutors and defence lawyers could not come to a timely agreement on the inclusion of dozens of minor documents related to the case against Myron Gottlieb. Those documents and reams of other documents were filed as exhibits in a whirlwind court session earlier today. The documents ranged from bland Livent memos Gottlieb signed to dozens of documents defence lawyers have referred to during cross examination of the 14 witnesses who have testified over the past five months.

It was hard not to feel nostalgic as the defence filed documents such as former Livent CFO Maria Messinas plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors; the indemnity agreement signed by Livents accounting staff and a memo from Garth Drabinsky going over details of Robert Topols sudden and mysterious termination from the company. Most of the documents were not that dramatic though and included things like pictures of bankers boxes that once contained Livent documents, floor plans of Livents fifth and sixth floors and a long list of critical dates associated with the companys different theatre productions.

The defence also returned the handwritten notes former Livent controller Chris Craib made after the now infamous April 24, 1998 meeting where Craib claimed he witnessed Drabinsky giving instructions to manipulate the companys financial results. Defence lawyers had asked to remove the document to have it tested by a forensic document examiner to determine if the notes had been altered. Theres no word on whether the results of those tests will be revealed.

And there is no indication whether the defence plans to call any witnesses of their own. We may finally learn that on Monday when court resumes and lawyers file the remaining documents associated with the case against Drabinsky. Then again, after nearly six months, I wouldnt bet on it.