Drabinsky, Gottlieb sentencing concluded

TORONTO — The two-day sentencing hearing of former Broadway producer Garth Drabinsky and business partner Myron Gottlieb concluded Tuesday with another deferment.

An Ontario Superior Court judge has set Aug. 5 as the date the defendants will learn their penalty for defrauding Livent investors of about C$500 million ($430 million).

It’s yet another intermission in a lengthy legal production that began with a four-year investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, followed by a six-year delay, then a 13-month trial that ended March 25 with the conviction of both Drabinsky and Gottlieb on two counts of fraud and one count of forgery.

During this week’s sentencing hearing, the court heard Drabinsky’s lawyer Edward Greenspan read from 46 letters, including character testimonials from arts luminaries such as actor Christopher Plummer, producer-director Harold Prince and author E.L. Doctorow, whose novel “Ragtime” spawned the Broadway musical originally produced by Livent.

Citing Drabinsky’s artistic accomplishments, “good deeds” and health considerations,¬†Greenspan urged the judge to consider a conditional sentence of two years’ house arrest, followed by three years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. Gottlieb’s lawyer also presented letters from friends and business associates, arguing for a similar sentence.

On Monday Crown attorney Alex Hrybinsky called for an eight-to-10-year prison sentence for the Livent co-founders. “It was in no way a one-time event or a lapse in judgment,” Hrybinsky told the court.

In Canada, the maximum sentence for fraud is 10 years, for forgery 14.

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