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The Waiting is the Hardest Part


Frank Quattrone has a good lawyer. And, fortunately, for him, a thoughtful jury. They’ve paid attention.
They’re deciding what to do today. In the very complicated game of telephone that involves U.S. Marshals, judges and handwritten notes being passed back and forth, the jury has given up one hint about where they’re headed.
They have picked up on the difference between obstruction of justice and witness tampering, asking the judge to describe the differences to them. This is important because the tampering charge is not as difficult to prove as obstruction. The government’s demonstration doesn’t have to be as thorough.
It’s hard to say who’s going to win this. I’ve entered the pool – don’t be shocked, pack journalism always has a pool, there’s no real prize, just bragging rights – saying Quattrone will be convicted just after lunch today. But I’m clearly not reliable. I know the case far too well.
And I’m not sure the evidence proves – beyond a reasonable doubt – what I suspect happened. I don’t think Frank forgot about the NASD or the SEC investigations. I think he, like many in Silicon Valley, brushed them off. And I don’t think he made a mistake when asked if he knew about the grand jury – and his need to seek legal counsel – when he endorsed Char’s mail. This is a guy with legendary attention to detail.
As he has throughout his career, Frank coolly and deliberately took advantage of what was going on around him, first endorsing Char’s mail in a way that’s not terribly suggestive, as it came across his screen. That message sat on his machine for at least 24 hours. It was deliberately considered.
Later, when he was asked about the exchange, by the NASD, Quattrone took advantage of CSFB’s in-house lawyer, Adrian Dollard. Reminded of the Char mail and his endorsement, Quattrone had had Dollard search CSFB’s email records to see what turned up. None of general counsel David Brodsky’s notes showed up in that search. It’s unlikely that they would since Dollard worked for Quattrone and for Brodsky and the two senior executives enjoyed a privileged relationship, that of lawyer and client. Lacking anything to show that he knew what was going on with the grand jury, Quattrone, with Dollard’s help, rearranged his memory. That’s why he told Gary Lynch that he didn’t know about the grand jury when he sent the “clean up” memo.
It’s not one mistake. It’s not one false move. It’s a series of feints and drifts – the quick response, the brilliant come-back, the stuff that makes great bankers and Frank Quattrone was — and may be once again — a great banker.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:46 AM | Permalink

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