Judge: Hedge Fund Manager’s Fainting Spell Can’t Be Used As Evidence
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A jury will not hear about how a former hedge fund manager fainted in front of his Florida mansion when federal agents showed up to question him about his alleged involvement in insider trading.
Mathew Martoma, charged in the biggest insider trade ever for SAC Capital Advisors, passed out on his front lawn when agents approached him.
As WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported, prosecutors wanted to use the fainting spell as evidence in Martoma’s trial, calling it “consciousness of guilt.” Defense attorneys, however, argued that evidence of Martoma’s fainting would only taint the jury.
Judge Paul Gardephe ruled that Martoma’s episode is not proof of guilt and cannot be used in his trial, which begins next week. Gardephe said being accused of insider trading is likely shocking and highly disturbing, whether someone is guilty or innocent.
Martoma is accused of making an insider trading deal that earned $276 million in illegal profit for Stamford, Conn.-based SAC Capital. Prosecutors say Martoma persuaded a medical professor to leak secret data from an Alzheimer’s disease trial between 2006 and 2008. SAC was founded by billionaire Steven A. Cohen.
The Martoma trial comes just a couple of weeks after another fainting spell involving another SAC executive. Michael Steinberg passed out in the courtroom as the jury came in with its guilty verdict.
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