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Seventh Inning Stretch

Oct
17
2003

The Quattrone jury went home for the weekend Friday evening and there was, of course, a lot of speculation about what it all meant. Conditioned for the Law and Order timing, we all want a dramatic ending within a certain reasonable period of time.
But all this means is that it is a tough case. And that Frank has good lawyers.
There’s a note from the jury describing their dilemma. The AP is saying – it’s Friday evening – that at least two jurors, one on each side, are stubborn in their refusal to change their opinions. That’s from the conversation the judge had with the lawyers in chambers but he’s sealed the exact contents so it’s secret. The WSJ, which has been buying transcripts since Quattrone took the stand, will have all the gory details on Monday. (In-house press joke: God is a Wall Street Journal subscriber – they have no Saturday paper. Response of Journal reporters: Big grin and a shrug, as if to say, of course).
This, of course, is good news for Quattrone. It means his lawyers have been able to successfully plant the “reasonable doubt” seed without which we’d have a conviction. His family and the dickheads, which now include Ted Smith and Ethan Topper, were happy.
So, right now, it looks like we’re headed to an ambiguous ending to this whole mess.
It’s be almost perfect, really. What did Frank intend to do? And when did he intend to do it?
And when it comes to stuff like the “friends of Frank” accounts – the allocations to favored clients like Michael Dell, the “allocation madness” that was talked about on all the mail back and forth between Quattrone, his bankers and his clients – there are heated opinions on both sides. Spinning wasn’t illegal when Quattrone or anyone else did it. And that’s not the charge.
Even people who want to lock Quattrone up and throw away the key – no names, please – will tell you that, in many respects, he’s on trial for the wrong thing. It happens, of course. But if the U.S. government is going to do anything about the little games that investment bankers play and they really want to clean up this whole mess, they should do a detailed investigation of the entire allocation process. You can argue they were headed in that direction in December 2000. But – for a lot of reasons, among them the World Trade Center bombings (I walk by the hole to the courthouse) that didn’t happen.
It wouldn’t be an easy case. It’d be long. And expensive. And complicated. And if you think a jury has a hard time with obstruction of justice, think about trying to explain the ins and outs of floats, allocations, “friends and family,” institutional investors, etc.
Not to mention that, by now, everyone in the valley hates them so much they’d never talk.
So, we’re into week four. Earlier in the day, I had been thinking it was a bad idea for John Keker to dis Derek Jeter. Jeter led the Yankee rally last night. But maybe there are some Red Sox fans on the jury.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:07 PM | Permalink

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