Saturday, November 7, 2009

New York Criminal Defense Attorney Cries To Jury

Welcome to the touchy-feely defense bar.

The past couple of days have shown us a decidedly softer side to the perhaps stereotypical tough-talking New York defense attorney. One of these displays happened Friday in Brooklyn where two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin (pictured), are on trial on various fraud counts, accused of lying to their investors about the health of two funds as they were collapsing in 2007. Susan Brune, a white-collar defense attorney, is representing Tannin.

During her summation on Friday, Brune argued that the prosecution deliberately mischaracterized her client’s state of mind. For example, prosecutors have alleged that in an April 2007 conference call with investors, Tannin lied in saying he was “comfortable” with the funds’ performance, when days earlier, he had emailed Cioffi over concerns about a market research report. He wrote that if the report is “ANYWHERE CLOSE to accurate, I think we should close the funds now.”

Brune said the email, when read in its entirety, actually showed that at the same time that Tannin had concerns, he saw a potential buying opportunity. She said Tannin and the other managers became “excited” because they believed they could use the research as a tool to help turn the funds’ performance around, according to reporting by WSJ’s Amir Efrati, who attended.

All pretty normal, as summations go. It wasn’t so much the words as the demeanor, that was atypical. Efrati reports that Brune’s voice got soft and she looked as if she might tear up several times. At the conclusion of her remarks, her voice quivered and she began crying as she implored the jury to acquit her client. “Send Matt home to his family,” she said.

Source: blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/11/06/new-york-defense-attorneys-showing-their-empathetic-side/ Lawyer Website Consulting

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