Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bear Stearns Trial: Final Arguments

Defense lawyers made their final arguments Friday on behalf of both Matthew Tannin and Ralph Cioffi, the former Bear Stearns managers accused of securities fraud largely on the basis of the e-mails they sent one another.

Mr. Tannin, for example, emailed to Cioffi on the basis of a recent market research report, saying that if the report is "ANYWHERE CLOSE to accurate, I think we should close the funds now." But soon thereafter, he told investors he was "comfortable" with the funds' performance. According to the prosecution, this crosses the line between permissible puffing and criminal lying.

In final argument, Tannin's attorney, Susan Brune, said that in the context of the whole email the "anything else" comment ceases to seem incriminating. She asked the jury to "send Matt home to his family."

Was she crying when she said this? I wasn't there, but apparently somebody heard or thought that they heard a quaver in her voice. The rule for a professional advocate is: what works, within the law. And there is no question but that a quavering voice is within the law. we'll see how it works.

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