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19 Apr

A federal judge has dismissed fraud charges Tuesday, Dec. Terrill, file) less FILE - In this May 27, 2009 file photo, former Broadcom CEO Henry J.

Nicholas III, center, watches the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets play during the first half at Game 5 in the NBA Western ...

(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Mindy Schauer) ** NO SALES, MAGS OUT, LA TIMES OUT ** less FILE - In this June 5, 2008 file photo, Broadcom's former chief financial officer, William J.

Ruehle, left, and his attorney Richard Marmaro leave the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif. more A federal judge has dismissed fraud and conspiracy charges in the stock-option backdating case against Broadcom Corp. District Judge Cormac Carney also asked prosecutors to explain why a separate drug indictment against Nicholas should not also be thrown out, and he dismissed a civil case the Securities and Exchange Commission filed against four Broadcom executives.

"No equity award has been identified that was not authorized, or where any officer or director approved an individual equity award from which he or she personally benefited." The review was conducted by Broadcom's audit committee and outside counsel.

The company said it is working with auditor Ernst & Young to fix the restatements' final form.

LOS ANGELES (Fortune) -- As CEO-gone-bad cases go, Henry Nicholas' had it all: heavy allegations of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as well as big-time corporate number-fudging.

Carney found that prosecutors tried to prevent three key defense witnesses from testifying, improperly contacted attorneys for defense witnesses and leaked information about grand jury proceedings to the media.But a funny thing happened on the way to the big house: Every charge against Nicholas was recently thrown out, with the final act taking place last week when the SEC dropped its civil backdating case against him and several associates.Suddenly, Nicholas is the poster child for something else: the nearing end of a crusade against options backdating that has produced few scalps.Ruehle’s attorney denied his client was responsible for violations.“When all of the facts are heard, it will be clear that Bill Ruehle was never on the Company’s board of directors or stock option committee; he never had authority or responsibility to grant stock options, or to select grant dates, and he never did so,” attorney Richard Marmaro said.