NEW YORK -- Frank Quattrone, the investment banker whose Internet-boom success brought him huge wealth and star status in his industry, returns to court today for a second trial on obstruction of justice charges.
His first trial ended in a mistrial in October, with jurors deadlocked -- but a majority leaning toward conviction -- on charges that Quattrone tried to hinder a 2000 federal investigation into stock allocation by his bank.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan enter the retrial fresh off a victory in their highest-profile white-collar case -- a conviction of Martha Stewart in March on charges of obstruction, conspiracy, and lying to investigators.
Another big case, with two former Tyco International executives accused of looting the company of $600 million, ended in a mistrial this month after some newspapers published a juror's name, and the juror -- a holdout for acquittal -- received a menacing telephone call and letter.
Defense lawyers in the Quattrone case last week cited the Tyco case in asking Judge Richard Owen to keep the jury anonymous. The judge, who oversaw the first trial for Quattrone and will also preside over the second, rejected the request.
The judge said he would consider ordering reporters not to name any jurors during the trial.
Prosecutors must show the banker acted with criminal intent on Dec. 5, 2000, when he endorsed a colleague's e-mail that urged employees to "catch up on file cleaning" by destroying some files.
Quattrone contends he was simply following the policy of his bank, Credit Suisse First Boston, which required routine destruction of some outdated documents.
The 48-year-old former banker is charged with obstruction of justice, obstructing the Securities and Exchange Commission, and witness tampering.
Among the key questions for the retrial: Will Quattrone take the stand again in his own defense?
Some jurors said after the first trial that Quattrone hurt his own case by appearing combative on the stand and appearing to contradict his lawyer's assertion that he had no involvement in how CSFB doled out stock shares.