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The former cable entrepreneur, whose net worth over $2.5 billion in 2002, could have cut a deal with the government and perhaps received a lighter sentence. But Rigas says he would not plead guilty to crimes he believes he did not commit.
"I believe there is a time when you can't compromise your values," says the World War II vet. "My legacy is to my grandchildren, and you have to stand up, as difficult as it is - for something. And that is not something to be compromised or amended."
Rigas says the government's case wasn't really about fraud, "because, you know, there was no fraud." Rather, he says, "It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If this had happened a year before, there wouldn't have been any headlines."