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Quattrone Jurors Still Deadlocked Despite Push From Judge

The jurist says the panel has a 'duty to agree upon a verdict' if possible. The defense raises media coverage as an issue.

October 23, 2003|From Reuters

The jury in the criminal trial of Frank Quattrone failed to reach a verdict Wednesday even after the judge presiding over the case tried to break a deadlock by urging jurors to reexamine their positions.

Resuming proceedings after a four-day break, U.S. District Judge Richard Owen instructed the jurors that it was their "duty to agree upon a verdict" if possible on this "important case."

Before the break, the jurors deadlocked over whether Quattrone, a former star investment banker in Silicon Valley, interfered with federal investigations by endorsing an e-mail in which a subordinate at Credit Suisse First Boston had instructed staffers to destroy old records.

On Wednesday, Owen said he wished to suggest "a few things which you may want to consider when you continue your deliberations."

He then told the jurors "how desirable it is, if possible, that you agree upon a unanimous verdict" and reminded them to use candor and "proper deference" to one another during deliberations.

After Owen instructed them to continue deliberations, the jurors asked for several pieces of evidence, including a list of witnesses who testified about what documents relating to hot initial public stock offerings were kept by CSFB's investment banking unit.

At the time Quattrone forwarded the e-mail that directed bankers to "clean up those files," a grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating whether CSFB handed out shares of the stock offerings in exchange for kickbacks from hedge funds.

Quattrone, charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering, has said he was unaware that the investment banking unit kept any documents subpoenaed in the investigations.

At one point Wednesday, lead defense attorney John Keker told the judge that he was concerned the jury might have been exposed to the intense media coverage in the case, hinting that he could use that as grounds for an appeal if a guilty verdict is reached.

Keker, who has twice unsuccessfully moved for a mistrial, asked the judge to poll the jurors to find out whether any had been reading news reports or seen coverage of the trial on television. Owen denied the request.

"We think if there is a verdict in this case, that may turn out to be an important mistake," Keker told the judge during a closed-door meeting, according to court transcripts.

The jury will enter its fifth day of deliberations today.

Owen told the jurors to take their time in deliberations, saying, "You are not to feel rushed."

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