Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Wall Street Jrl reports here that Frank Quattrone may be reaching an agreement with the government that would resolve the criminal case pending against him. Quattrone is presently facing a third trial. The first trial was a hung jury and the second was reversed by an appeals court. The case of alleged obstruction of justice charges hinged to a large extent on an email instructing people to clean up their files.
This is not the first time that the Wall Street Jrl has suggested that a resolution of this case might be forthcoming (see post here). And should this happen it would be beneficial to everyone.
- On one hand, the stress of a third trial for Quattrone would be an incredible strain - one trial is tough enough, but three is above and beyond - clearly a punishment not faced by most alleged offenders.
- Second, the cost of attorney fees is also a significant punishment here. With the high cost of white collar attorney fees, having an attorney for two full trials, an appeal, and now the preparation for a third possible trial is above and beyond - clearly a punishment not faced by most alleged offenders.
- Also Quattrone had to defend the civil NASD charge of alleged "spinning," a charge overturned and then not pursued, but likely costing him the punishment of the strain of dealing with the action and the cost of attorney fees.
- There is a new prosecutor, a new judge, and a new defense attorney, which means everyone getting up to speed on this case -- a lot of time, and yes, money - is it really worth it?
- Should the government be expending tax dollars on a case such as this? Are there more important priorities that need to be addressed?
Quattrone loses either way. He is deprived of his chance to prove his innocence and has paid a high cost experiencing the judicial process. Some might argue that the government also loses in that they are deprived of the opportunity to prove his guilt. This is one of those situations where there will probably never be winners, but cutting everyone's losses now may just be best.