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franklin county times

Comcast sued for malicious prosecution'

By By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
June 15, 2001
Kary Graham, acquitted in April in a federal trial charging him in an alleged $2.6 million conspiracy to defraud Comcast, has filed a $150 million lawsuit against the cable company claiming "malicious prosecution."
The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.
It alleges that Comcast officials misrepresented the facts to investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Office, withheld information, and lost or destroyed evidence that would have proven Graham's innocence.
The three-week trial took place in U.S. District Court in Meridian.
The federal government's 21-count indictment alleged that former Comcast Primestar regional manager David Van Colvin and four co-conspirators defrauded Comcast of $2.6 million in a money-laundering scheme between January 1994 and August 1996.
Colvin pleaded guilty in 1999 and testified in the trial.
Two of the 21 counts involved Graham, conspiracy to commit wire/mail fraud and mail fraud.
Attorney Charlie Wright, who represents Graham, intimated after the "not guilty" verdict April 13 that he believed Comcast engineered his client's indictment.
The lawsuit alleges Graham has suffered both physical and mental injury.
Also acquitted in the April trial was Meridian contractor Wayne Raley. C.D. "Bubba," a former vice president of Trustmark National Bank, was convicted of income tax evasion and multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money-laundering. Kim Gianakos, owner of a now-defunct marketing agency, was convicted of one count of mail fraud.
Meanwhile, in Lauderdale County Chancery Court, Graham is asking for a trial date in an earlier civil lawsuit filed against Comcast in 1997 shortly after the cable company severed its contract with him.
In that suit, Graham asks the court to compel Comcast to pay $700,000 in outstanding invoices dated after an internal audit in August 1996 and before he was terminated in December 1996. Co-counsel Robert Dreyfus said that total includes $289,000 in sales invoices, $300,000 in bonuses, about $90,000 in interest and the balance in attorneys' fees.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.
Time Line:
The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court alleges the following sequence of events:
March 1995: Kary Graham hired to operate a Comcast Primestar sales office.
Aug. 12, 1996: Comcast conducts internal audit of Primestar division after an anonymous letter writer claims Primestar regional manager David Van Colvin was stealing money from the company.
Sept. 6, 1996: Comcast files an insurance claim alleging fraud against Graham in excess of $4 million. The suit also claims Comcast officials met twice with federal prosecutors in September.
Dec. 16, 1996: Comcast submits a copy of its internal audit to federal prosecutors.
Dec. 19, 1996: Comcast terminates contract with Graham, and assumes control of his operation.
January 1997: Graham requests payment of outstanding invoices dated after the internal audit; Comcast officials reply, "Sue us."
July 4, 1997: Graham files a civil suit in Lauderdale County seeking compensation for outstanding invoices.
July 21, 2000: Graham indicted for conspiracy to commit mail/mail fraud and mail fraud.
April 13, 2001: Graham acquitted of both counts in U.S. District Court.