NEW YORK — Franklin Brown, Rite Aid’s former vice chairman and general counsel, has another week to decide whether to stand trial on charges of accounting fraud or settle with the U.S. government.

The government’s case against Brown, who originally pled his innocence, was set to go to trial last month. That changed after a former colleague changed his plea to guilty. Brown was supposed to tell a federal district court judge in Harrisburg, Pa., last month whether he was changing his plea, but has since received two postponements.

As reported, others who were indicted along with Brown were Martin Grass, the pharmaceutical chain’s former chairman and chief executive officer, and Frank Bergonzi, former chief financial officer.

It was Bergonzi who blinked first, changing his plea to guilty on June 5 and delaying the initial start of trial. The former cfo, following his plea change, reportedly told prosecutors what evidence he could provide against Grass and Brown.

Grass changed his plea to guilty on June 17. Sentencing dates have yet to be determined for Grass and Bergonzi.

As reported, a 37-count indictment was handed down last June, charging all three former Rite Aid executives with masterminding an accounting fraud that overstated earnings by $1.6 billion. In July 2000, the Camp Hill, Pa.-based firm was forced to issue a $1.6 billion restatement of earnings, then the largest such revision in history. With its $9 billion earnings overstatement, WorldCom Inc. has since claimed that distinction as its own.

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