Jurors in the obstruction of justice trial of Frank Quattrone began deliberations Friday after hearing starkly different views of the former investment banker from lawyers for the defense and government.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Anders described Quattrone as a “salesman” who lied to jurors when he took the witness stand and denied that he ever intended to interfere with federal investigations of his former employer, Credit Suisse First Boston.
“He had every reason to believe these investigations would involve him and his business,” Anders said in a closing argument that lasted an hour and a half.
“Frank Quattrone got caught red-handed,” Anders told jurors. “There is overwhelming evidence that Frank Quattrone knew exactly what was going on when he told employees to ’clean-up’ their files.”
Quattrone’s attorney shot back by saying that prosecutors were unfairly targeting his client — the former head of technology investment banking at CSFB — for what amounts to an ”itty bitty e-mail.”
“This two-line e-mail was proper when it was sent, it was understandable, and it was coincidental when it was sent,” defense attorney John Keker told jurors.
Keker, who at one point flashed a picture of a giant red herring on a screen for jurors, told them to closely scrutinize the “maybes” used by prosecutors, who he said are “stretching something out of nothing.”
“The government is asking you to connect a lot of dots that weren’t connected in Frank Quattrone’s mind,” Keker said.
Quattrone’s state of mind when he endorsed and forwarded a subordinate’s e-mail in late December 2000 urging other bankers at CSFB to clean-up their records is at the center of the former financier’s obstruction of justice and witness-tampering case.
Both Quattrone’s attorneys and prosecutors agree that when he sent the e-mail he had some knowledge of federal investigations into whether CSFB received kickbacks from hedge funds in return for allocating them shares of hot stock offerings.
But Quattrone contends — as he did in his first trial — that he believed the investigations involved a different part of CSFB and never thought he was interfering when he told staff in his own unit to destroy old records.
“This investigation could have gone on just fine if every investment banking document in the world had fallen in the ocean,” Keker told jurors.
After receiving instruction from the judge presiding over the case, jurors retired to decide whether or not Quattrone intended to block the investigations. Jurors in his first case failed to reach a verdict.
Quattrone, 48, would likely face about two years in prison under sentencing guidelines if convicted of three counts of obstructing justice and tampering with witnesses.
“When you get right down to it, there is only one question you have to answer,” Anders, the prosecutor, said. “What was in Frank Quattrone’s mind?”
He went on to say, “Frank Quattrone knew about these investigations and knew the damage they would do to his business and his reputation.”