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Quattrone Wasn't Told to Keep Files, Lawyer Asserts

The former investment banker's attorney says a CSFB order to preserve documents came a day after a crucial e-mail.

October 03, 2003|Walter Hamilton | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Frank Quattrone's lawyer, seeking to refute charges that the former Silicon Valley investment banker knowingly destroyed evidence sought by government investigators, argued in court Thursday that Quattrone's firm didn't tell him to preserve key documents until after he had sent an e-mail encouraging his staff to destroy many of those records.

During cross-examination of government witnesses, the lawyer, John Keker, tried to establish that attorneys at Credit Suisse First Boston didn't begin issuing orders to keep files on scores of initial public stock offerings until the day after Quattrone's Dec. 5, 2000, e-mail. That message urged his staff to comply with an e-mail sent Dec. 4 by another CSFB banker suggesting that they clean up their files.

Federal prosecutors have charged Quattrone, 47, with obstruction of justice and witness tampering. They allege that his e-mail was intended to coax his staff to destroy documents so as to hamper probes that could have hurt Quattrone.

According to documents shown to jurors Thursday, the first instruction to hold on to records came from Adrian Dollard, a Palo Alto-based CSFB lawyer, on Dec. 6. The next day, top CSFB lawyers in New York sent a more formal notice.

Prosecutors have sought to show that the probes sought a wide range of information and that Quattrone understood that he should preserve documents.

To that end, prosecutors asked Kevin McCarthy, a top CSFB lawyer, about his reaction to the Dec. 4 e-mail. McCarthy replied that he was concerned that it would prompt some people to purge needed files.

For the second straight day, Keker suffered a setback when U.S. District Judge Richard Owen refused a request to introduce evidence to the jury.

On Thursday, Keker wanted to introduce e-mails that he claimed would show that CSFB lawyers had considered ordering Quattrone's investment banking division in both October and November 2000 to preserve all documents, but had not done so. Because he was not told to preserve documents, Quattrone was simply following CSFB policy by advising his team to destroy files, Keker argued.

But Owen appeared to grow irritated. "I've been permitting you to go extensively all day long," the judge told Keker in refusing the request. "I don't understand how that has any bearing on this issue at all."

Owen labeled the supposed evidence "utterly irrelevant."

A day earlier, Keker sought to introduce a letter he claimed would show Quattrone didn't have a role in doling out IPOs to CSFB clients, which was the issue at the heart of the government probes. He grew agitated when Owen turned him down.

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