A federal judge urged jurors Wednesday to try harder to reach a verdict in the obstruction of justice trial of former star technology banker Frank Quattrone.
The jury was entering its fourth day of deliberations, and has reported to U.S. District Judge Richard Owen that it substantially disagrees on the verdict. Quattrone is charged with obstruction and witness tampering.
“This is an important case,” Owen told jurors. “This trial has required a lot of time, effort and money from both the defense and prosecution.”
A mistrial would force the government to decide whether to try the case again.
While the judge cautioned jurors not to yield their honest beliefs, he told them: “You should not hesitate to re-examine your own views and change your opinion if convinced it’s erroneous.”
Quattrone sent an e-mail to employees at Credit Suisse First Boston on Dec. 5, 2000, urging them to “catch up on file cleanup” by destroying some files.
The government says he was deliberately obstructing investigations into the bank by regulators and a federal grand jury, who were looking into how CSFB allocated shares of hot new stocks during the Internet boom.
Quattrone says he did not know the scope of the investigations, and was simply following a bank policy that required some document destruction.
Almost immediately after they resumed deliberations under the judge’s new instructions on Wednesday, jurors sent a note asking for a list of witnesses who testified about the types of documents held by CSFB’s technology investment banking division.
That division was the target of Quattrone’s e-mail urging document destruction. A central question in the trial is whether Quattrone believed that division would have documents that were being sought by investigators.
The trial, operating with just 11 jurors, was suspended for two days because one juror’s wife delivered a baby.
Quattrone’s defense team had moved for a mistrial, arguing that the delay exposed jurors to extensive trial publicity. The judge denied the motion.