NEW YORK -- A federal judge declined yesterday to rescind an order barring reporters from publishing the names of jurors in the retrial of former star investment banker Frank Quattrone, media lawyers said.
US District Judge Richard Owen noted that the recent trial of two former Tyco International Ltd. executives had been "blown to smithereens" after some newspapers published the name of a juror, said Lynn Oberlander, a lawyer for Forbes Inc.
While the media traditionally do not name jurors during a trial, news organizations had asked Owen to reconsider his order, claiming it violated the First Amendment.
David Schulz, another lawyer for the news organizations, said none of his clients had expressed any intention of publishing a juror name in the Quattrone retrial; they were simply arguing on constitutional grounds, he said.
The judge heard from media lawyers yesterday afternoon in his private robing room, leaving reporters to rely on a summary of the session from lawyers and a transcript to be published later.
Owen did agree to have two reporters attend private conferences in the robing room during jury selection, Schulz said. Jury selection began Tuesday and continued yesterday.
Quattrone, whose first trial ended in a hung jury last October, is charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering for a Dec. 5, 2000, e-mail that urged employees at Credit Suisse First Boston bank to destroy some files.
At the time, the government was looking into how CSFB doled out shares of hot new-to-market stocks. Quattrone claims he was following the bank's policy, which called for regular destruction of some documents.
Quattrone was an industry star at CSFB, making as much as $120 million a year. He took technology companies like Amazon.com and Netscape Communications Corp. public for various banks.
Owen's original order, issued Tuesday from the bench, barred publication of the name of any prospective or selected juror in Quattrone's retrial "until further order of this court."
The Associated Press joined The New York Times Co., Bloomberg LP, Dow Jones & Co., Forbes, NBC, Reuters, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, and Newsday in opposing the order.
In a letter to the judge yesterday, Schulz wrote, "Nothing has occurred to date in this case to suggest that extraordinary measures are needed to prevent publication of the names of prospective jurors."
Yesterday, Owen went further, ordering reporters not to discuss the case in the courtroom if they know they are sitting close to a prospective juror. The judge said a prospective juror on Tuesday had gotten "involved in some kind of a conversation" with a reporter in the courtroom.
In the Tyco trial, a judge declared a mistrial after Juror number four -- who was holding out for acquittal of the two former executives -- reported receiving threats after she was named by some newspapers.