by Lynne Huntting

Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven was not in Oakland District Federal Court to hear the verdict delivered by the jury in the six-week insider dealing case in which he was implicated, but will nevertheless have been happy with the result.

The jury rendered a unanimous verdict in the civil trial, with the so-called 'motorsport mogul' and venture capitalist found not guilty on all counts. Kalkhoven and the other three defendants - Charles Abbe, Robert Muller and Dr Josef Strauss - were former employees of JDS Uniphase, a Silicon Valley-based optical fibre telecommunications company in northern California, and were alleged to have created an artificially positive view of the company's health while secretly off-loading large proportions of their own stock. The other three defendants were also found not guilty on all counts of the very complex pleadings.

The jury was polled in court and all agreed on the verdict, and left after being personally thanked by judge Claudia Wilkins, who has been with this case since it originated in March 2002.

Michael Shepard, lead attorney for Kalkhoven, said there was no comment from the PKV Racing boss, but did have his own words for the press.

"We're very pleased," he said, "This was five years of examining every little thing and all the employees at JDS Uniphase. They never laid a glove on Mr Kalkhoven. At all times, he acted honestly and in good faith. The company was good while he was there. As I said in my opening remarks, all the plaintiffs could prove was that Mr Kalkhoven was rich. We thank the jury for looking at it fairly, and concluding that even a rich guy can do the right thing."

Barbara Hart, lead attorney for the plaintiffs was magnanimous in 'defeat'.

"We're very proud of our client's commitment to the integrity of the securities market," she noted, "The pursued claims of the State of Connecticut Treasurer Nappier were meritorious, and we respect the outcome of the case. We thank the jury after weeks of a very long, complex trial."

Hart said she could not comment on any plans to appeal the verdict.