Supreme Court Upholds Brian Convictions



Here is a 1999 story by The Associated Press on the Supreme Court upholding the fraud convictions of former UPI chairman Earl Brian:

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court today let stand the fraud convictions of Earl Brian, former chairman of United Press International and Financial News Network, clearing the way for his imprisonment.

The court, without comment, rejected an appeal that said Brian was denied a fair trial and a fair hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brian was convicted in 1996 of bank fraud, lying to auditors and conspiring to cover up financial problems at UPI and FNN in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison but so far has remained free on bail pending appeal.

Today's action frees federal prosecutors to seek his imprisonment.

Brian served as California's Health and Welfare secretary under Gov. Ronald Reagan and unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 1984.

Prosecutors said Brian and another executive drafted hundreds of false invoices and other documents to conceal FNN's losses and help the faltering cable TV network and its New York parent, Infotechnology Inc., obtain $70 million in bank loans.

They said FNN billed UPI for services it had not performed, borrowed money from Security Pacific Bank based on the false financial statement and fabricated leases to nonexistent equipment so that UPI could pay FNN.

Both UPI and FNN went bankrupt in 1991. FNN later sold its core media operations to CNBC. UPI has gone through two bankruptcy reorganizations and four owners since being sold by the Scripps family in 1982. It was bought in 1992 by Middle East Broadcasting Centre, a Saudi corporation.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This AP story was incorrect because at the time of the high court's ruling, Brian had already started serving his sentence.

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