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Rigases fight second trial in US appeals court

PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court is reviewing whether the imprisoned founder of Adelphia Communications Corp. and his son can face a second federal fraud trial.

A full Third Circuit panel in Philadelphia will hear defense arguments that a second trial in Pennsylvania amounts to double jeopardy for John Rigas and his son, Timothy.

John Rigas is serving a 12-year term and Timothy Rigas a 17-year term after convictions in New York for defrauding their now-defunct cable television giant, which was based in Coudersport, Pa. Prosecutors say they used the company like a piggy bank.

A Third Circuit panel had sided 2-1 with the Rigases’ double-jeopardy claims and ordered a lower-court review. The full panel is rehearing the issue at prosecutors’ request.

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