Kidder, Peabody & Co. said yesterday that it will pay legal fees and salary for Richard B. Wigton, a veteran Wall Street professional accused in a major insider trading case.

However, Wigton's status as a suspended employe remains unchanged, Kidder said. Despite his assertion of innocence, Wigton was suspended without pay after he was indicted on insider trading charges in April.

In contrast, one of Wigton's codefendants, Robert M. Freeman of Goldman, Sachs & Co., has remained a fully paid employe of his firm. The indictment against Wigton, Freeman and former Kidder trader Timothy L. Tabor was dropped in May after the government said it needed more time to prepare the case. But federal prosecutors said at the time that they expected a broader indictment to be handed up.

It was reported yesterday that Wigton had been reinstated as a Kidder executive, but Kidder said those reports "are not accurate. Mr. Wigton's status as a suspended employe remains unchanged. However, since Richard Wigton is not currently under indictment and has not been for several months, it now seemed appropriate to pay his legal bills and compensation, in line with Kidder, Peabody and General Electric's practice in dealing with employes who are under investigation, but not indictment.

"In the event Mr. Wigton is reindicted, his pay and the payment of counsel fees will again be suspended pending a final resolution of the matter," it said. GE owns 80 percent of Kidder.