A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Rockwell International and one of its former executives will face separate trials on charges of plotting to overcharge the Air Force by nearly $450,000 on a satellite system.
U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall granted Rockwell’s motion for severance from the other defendant, Donald Carter, former director of a Rockwell division in Seal Beach.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Hayman, a prosecutor, said Carter, 59, of Downey now faces trial Nov. 1 and the company is set to go to trial Jan. 3.
Prosecutors said the motion was granted because the two defendants intend to present antagonistic defenses in which each “points the finger” at the other.
Robert Zavodnik, 46, of Fountain Valley, who worked under Carter as a manager of major subcontracts, pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements in connection with the scheme. His sentencing is set for Nov. 28.
The indictment charges that Rockwell received $446,283 by double billing the Air Force in 1982 and 1983 for unexpected repair costs it incurred as part of a $1.2-billion contract for developing a satellite navigation system. The firm also allegedly tried to cover up the action by submitting false documents and misleading federal auditors.
The company claims it should not be prosecuted because it voluntarily disclosed the fraud to the Air Force in the fall of 1986 and offered the Air Force a contract adjustment for the disputed costs.