WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge Friday dismissed all charges against two former Westar Energy executives who were accused of looting the Kansas utility, granting a request by prosecutors that came just hours after the state's new U.S. attorney was sworn in.
Former Westar chief executive David Wittig and his top strategy officer, Douglas Lake, were charged with conspiring to inflate their compensation from the Topeka-based company and taking steps to hide their actions. A third trial date for the men, who were forced out of Westar in late 2002, was pending. Their first trial ended in a hung jury and a conviction in their second was overturned.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson dismissed all charges without prejudice, meaning they could be filed again.
Jim Cross, spokesman for newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, declined to comment Friday evening and prosecutors' motion to dismiss did not offer a reason for the move.
Even defense attorneys were taken by surprise.
"I credit the Justice Department for recognizing how flawed this case was," said Patrick McInerney, an attorney for Lake.