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In Inside Trading Trial of Ex-rep Buyer Defense Has Character Witness Including Ex-Rep Quinn

By Matthew Russell Lee, Light Read, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 6 -- On July 25, 2022 the SDNY prosecutors unsealed an indictment of ex Rep Stephen Buyer for illegal trading on two mergers.

On July 27, Buyer accompanied by his wife was in Courtroom 17B of 500 Pearl Street to be arraigned. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On March 1, 2023, the trial began with opening arguments. Inner City Press live tweeted here.

On March 2, T-Mobile executive (and plus 2 hadicap amateur golfer, he pointed out) Anthony Russo was on the stand. On direct examination he said Buyer trading stock would have been inappropriate under T-Mobile's insider trading rules.

With the jury out of the room, Buyer's lawyer asked for a mistrial. Judge Berman asked for briefing, saying he didn't want to prejudge. He pointed out at the indictment does speak of stock sales, and not only purchases. Buyer's lawyer insisted on the dates of crime listed in the indictment. Inner City Press will cover the filings - for now, thread here

On the morning of March 6, the prosecution called witnesses including Matthew Levine of Virtu Financial, who said along with servers in New Jersey they traded through Manhattan offices (for venue), and Karen Hensel, a journalist in Indiana, Boston and now Florida.

  She said after a friendship then intimate relationship with Buyer he opened a Charles Schwab account in her name and traded Sprint and Navigant stock in it, for her.

On cross examination, the fourth of Buyer's five lawyer asked her to confirm that Steve helps his friends. She did.

More on Substack here.

On March 7, Buyer's lawyers put on the witness stand a series of character witnesses. One had flown in from Indiana the night before; another had traveled to Bosnia with Buyer. Each was asked, since a Congressmember gets to use the prefix "Honorable," if they thought Steve Buyer was - and said yes.

  Former Buffalo Congressman Jack Quinn was allowed to testify by video from Florida (he said he has Parkinsons Disease). With a ceiling fan behind him, he too agreed Buyer is honorable. Will it be enough? More on Patreon here.

  Inner City Press will continue to cover the trial. More with analysis on Substack here

  Early on March 3, the US filed opposition to Buyer's motion for a mistrial, arguing among other things that "the defendant’s suggestion that the Government “purposefully elicited testimony about a crime Mr. Buyer has not been charged with” (Dkt. 85 at 2) should be dismissed out of hand. As reflected in the transcript, the date range on the Government’s question was added, in the moment, at the request of the defendant. (Tr. 346:12-13). There was certainly no targeted effort to “convict Mr. Buyer on the basis of conduct that falls outside the grand jury’s indictment.” (Dkt. 85 at 2)." Full letter on Patreon here.

In court on March 3, an interview of Buyer was recounted, second-hand through notes. Alonso objected, calling it hearsay. Judge Berman overruled the objection. And so it went into evidence that Buyer said he had joint trading accounts with his wife Joannie and another with his son. Past recollection recorded... The trial will continue on March 6, and Inner City Press will be there.

 As to T-Mobile, the two week trial against the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger ended on December 20, 2019 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero. There were papers due January 8, and a final four hour argument on January 15. Inner City Press began what will be a trial-long live-tweet, here. Day 7 Patreon here.

Back on August 31, Judge Richard M. Berman held a US v. Buyer proceeding, ranging from the so-called filter team to trial dates, most likely in February 2023. Inner City Press live tweeted here

On November 23, Judge Berman ruled on a discovery dispute and concluded, "Cut it out" - "Counsel for both sides should be aware that the Court is not fond of "tit for tat"litigation. Cut it out. (Signed by Judge Richard M. Berman on 11/23/2022)."

On November 30 Judge Berman to his credit set the December 7 oral argument to be virtual, since the defendant - whose right it is - did not object: "ORDER as to Stephen Buyer. The oral argument scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 11:00 AM - in the absence of defense objection - is being held by video."

Opinion (than and now): More judges should do this, as they do in civil cases.

But it was converted to in-person, on December 14. Inner City Press there, thread

On February 12, 2023, Buyer's counsel wrote to seek to exclude another other things text messages: "  The exhibits at issue are GX 402, a series of text messages between Mr. Buyer and Individual-1 from August 18, 2016 through October 23, 2017 (before the events in the indictment); GX 401, which contains a series of texts between the two from 2021 (long after the events in the indictment); and GX 306, an email in which Mr. Buyer sent photos of Individual-1’s daughter’s wedding in 2019 and wrote “you are beautiful.” Other topics discussed are hot-button political topics like abortion (Individual-1 stridently expressed that she is pro-life and was very negative about pro-choice women) and political debates including admiration for former Vice President Mike Pence (GX 402), discussions of getting together and phrases like “miss you” (GX 401). Notably, GX 402, which the government told us it intends to offer, is 383 pages long. Adding to the prejudice is that within the text strings and in his phone, Individual-1 is referred to by what the government says is a code name, “Leo.” This code name also shows up in a series of documents (GX 413-15) that the government also seeks to introduce, which contain nothing but Mr. Buyer’s passwords from his iPhone, many of which contain the string “leo.” There is no reason to offer any of this other than to tar Mr. Buyer with the stink of infidelity and conservative political beliefs."

Next, there was a February 15 conference, which Inner City Press live tweeted here:

OK - now a conference in US v ex-Rep Steve Buyer. Judge Berman says, "This rolling process is not acceptable. No more motions in limine?"

Buyer's counsel from Orrick replies that he just wants to make sure he can object to evidence at trial.

Judge Berman: Are you seriously asking that? A: I just, uh... Judge: I assume you know. Now the trial is moved back a week to Feb 28

Buyer's counsel: Can we store defense stuff in the courtroom or nearby? Judge Berman: You may have to take care of that yourself. No printers or copiers in the courtroom. But we'll talk about it.

Buyer's counsel: We get it. We can deal with the new trial date.

Judge Berman asks why the defense needs to bring seven laptops in, and then it's over. For now.

This case is US v. Buyer, 22-cr-397 (Berman)

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