Judge declares Samueli innocent

Dec. 10, 2009 at 4:21 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge in California has tossed out billionaire Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli's guilty plea for allegedly lying to investigators.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's unexpected ruling came Wednesday in the case of Broadcom Corp.'s former chief financial officer, William Ruehle, who is on trial for fraud after allegedly backdating stock options.

Samueli, a Broadcom co-founder, had pleaded guilty in June 2008 to making a false statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. After hearing his testimony, Carney dismissed the guilty plea, saying Samueli made ambiguous, but not false, statements, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Thursday.

"I have looked at the plea agreement. I have listened to your testimony and you didn't make a false material statement," Carney said.

Samueli, who had yet to be sentenced, thanked the judge.

"You have restored my faith in the criminal justice system," he said.

Samueli's attorney, Gordon Greenberg, said the case was "done from our perspective.''

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