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BANKING/FINANCE : Keating Prosecutors Vary Their Witnesses to Avoid Jury Burnout

Compiled by James S. Granelli, Times staff writer

In lengthy trials, jurors can sometimes be overwhelmed by what seems like an endless string of witnesses offering similar testimony. When the testimony seems to run together, attorneys often struggle for ways to keep the attention of jurors.

So it is in the securities fraud trial of former savings and loan executive Charles H. Keating Jr. Prosecutors in the complex trial called half the 22 bondholder witnesses to the stand before bringing in their expert to explain what those people were buying at Lincoln Savings & Loan branches.

Remaining bondholders are testifying intermittently during the rest of the prosecution’s case.

In addition, Robin S. Symes, a former Lincoln chairman and one of two key witnesses, is testifying today instead of at the end of the prosecution’s case.

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Jurors were told during opening statements that Symes and Ray C. Fidel, a former Lincoln president, would be the last to testify against Keating.

Prosecutors could not be reached Tuesday to explain why they want Symes to testify earlier, but other observers speculated that the prosecution needs to present evidence soon to tie Keating to fraudulent bond sales and to keep jurors interested.


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