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Former Merrill Lynch Secretary Gets To Take Back That Time She Said ‘Guilty, Your Honor’

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A federal judge in Brooklyn has decided that lying to a grand jury isn’t really perjury if your boss asks you to do it, and is especially worthy of ignoring if, even with the cooperation you provide, prosecutors still have to shove some evidence under the carpet to win a conviction.

Judge Leo Glasser of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn took the extraordinarily rare step of vacating the guilty plea of Irene Santiago, who admitted in 2005 to testifying falsely before a grand jury and agreed to cooperate with government investigators.

Santiago's testimony helped convict the six men but their convictions were overturned on appeal….

In a ruling released on Friday, Glasser said it would be an injustice to leave Santiago with a conviction after the six defendants had their records scrubbed clean and their rights restored.

In 2009, thanks in part to Santiago's assistance, prosecutors convicted six former brokers and traders accused of listening in on pending orders from customers over squawk boxes between 2002 and 2004. Prosecutors said the six used the information to trade ahead of those transactions, a practice known as "front running…."

In vacating the conviction, Glasser said it would be unfair to make Santiago a "real-life Hester Prynne, condemned to wear her scarlet letter of conviction for life."

Conviction overturned for woman who aided ‘squawk-box’ prosecutors [Reuters]


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