Think this would make a difference? Today, jury selection will begin in the insider trading case against Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at embattled hedge fund SAC Capital. But before attorneys could argue before the jury, Martoma's lawyers tried to set an interesting term - they wanted to ban the use of the word "greed" during the trial.
This request didn't go over well, according to the NYT:
In a ruling on Monday, the judge presiding over the trial, Paul G. Gardephe, barred prosecutors from introducing evidence of Mr. Martoma's fainting spell. But he decided to allow prosecutors to use the word "greed" during the trial, despite concerns raised by Mr. Strassberg that the word could be used as a way to "tap into the anger out there against Wall Street."
Remember, Martoma fainted in his front yard when the FBI took him in.
Martoma is accused of passing inside information to Steve Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital, that made the firm $276 million. It's the latest in a string of cases against SAC, which last year pleaded guilty to federal insider trading charges, returned outside investor money, and became a family office.
Mr. Cohen is paying Mr. Martoma's legal fees, and Martoma has not implicated Mr. Cohen in any charges.
Now, about this anger against Wall Street. It has two very dangerous characteristics for Mr. Martoma. First, it's real and second, it's simple.
You hear it all the time during cases involving Wall Street's misdeeds - the jury doesn't understand the case, the crime, or the victim. Most recently, it was repeated over and over again during the trial of Goldman Sachs' Fabrice Tourre.
"Some members of the nine-person jury appeared to fall asleep as one expert witness testified to the ins-and-outs of the deals," Tracy Alloway reported in the FT.
But Tourre's case was more complicated than Martoma's matter. Using the word greed makes it simpler still.
All that said, you may want to review the finer points of SAC Capital's history with insider trading charges. Frontline, tonight, will air a documentary on this topic at 10:00 pm EST. That should get you prepped.
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Original headline: Defense Lawyers In The First Big Insider Trading Trial Of 2014 Tried To Ban The Word 'Greed'
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