We Break For Frank

We don’t have enough going on around here, what with helping give away money to voters, trying to figure out what to say about the election – don’t give up yet, Democrats, really – and generally waiting around for tempers to start flaring on a whole bunch of races, local, state-wide and national.
Nope. Not enough.
Now comes a reminder from Andy Sorkin at The New York Times that our friend Frank Quattrone will be sentenced tomorrow.

Those of you coming to this site for the first time can look at the reporting I’ve done on Quattrone. The first “friend of Frank” story appeared under my by-line in the New York Post. I also wrote the “clean out those files” email story – dubbed simply “Smoking Email” by the headline writers at the Post – which led to Quattrone’s indictment. A series of entries from the first trial, last October, which I covered for The Post, are also posted here and integrated with the news stories. Enjoy.
Sorkin does a fine job of outlining the alternatives and he tries to point out something that’s been very obvious to anyone watching this: Judge Richard Owen doesn’t much like Frank Quattrone. In fact, he’s been pretty convinced of Quattrone’s guilt, by my reckoning, for just about a year now.
The judge has federally mandated guidelines for sentencing. There are things he can do, things he can’t. But if he decides to agree with prosecutors – who Sorkin says will argue that Quattrone perjured himself – Quattrone is looking at more than a year in jail. And since Judge Owen doesn’t like Quattrone – or, perhaps more importantly, his lawyer, John Keker – there’s a good chance he’ll land on the less-than-lenient side of the equation.
The WSJ’s Randy Smith will probably weigh in Thursday with the gory details of what actually happened in court. Smith apparently brandished the WSJ logo and got Harper Collins, long-reluctant to contract for books about Silicon Valley, to buy a Quattrone book.
Of course, Quattrone and his lawyers have pretty much papered the valley with email asking “friends” of Frank’s not to talk to Smith.
“Randy Smith is working on a book about me, and that my legal team and I are NOT going to work with him and are NOT going to be a source for his proposed book, and respectfully asking you also not to work with him or be a source for his book,” Quattrone said in his late-June email message. It was, in fine Quattrone tradition, appended to another message from his lawyer, Ken Hausman.
Hausman, apparently thinking that denial of access would slow down Smith’s book deal, pretty much spelled out the terms to anyone with any questions. You know, you can buy PR like this. But it’s expensive. In a mistaken attempt to inform and intimidate, Hausman actually plugged Smith’s work, putting in everything but his (approximately) $75,000 advance!
“According to a recent report in a publishing trade journal, the working title for the book is OBSTRUCTION: The Rise and Fall of Frank Quattrone. Randy Smith’s reporting about Frank has been unfair, from the early articles in December of 2000 through both trials and continuing through his most recent post-trial articles. Neither Frank nor his legal team will work with Mr. Smith or be a source for his book.
“Beginning earlier this month, Mr. Smith has tried, unsuccessfully, to engage with Frank, Frank’s legal team and some of his friends and colleagues. We expect he may try to contact you and other people close to Frank over the next 6 months as he “researches” and writes his book. We would appreciate your declining to work with Mr. Smith and declining to be a source, on or off the record, for his book.”

Another example of reverse-logic PR, of course, Quattrone’s paving the way for Smith to talk to those who so desire. And, Frank, they’re out there. Trust me. On this, I think I’ve demonstrated that I, too, am here to stay.