The last six weeks have not been the best of Preet Bharara’s life. But he’s used them profitably, moving through most of the five stages of grief after the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals basically torpedoed his life’s work vis-à-vis insider-trading. Indeed, after a black start to the new year, Preet was starting to emerge from his deepest depression (Stage 4) and in to a sort of acceptance (Stage 5).
So the Second Circuit took away two of his insider-trading convictions. And, sure, his remaining total of 84 appeared likely to be further diminished as the likes of Michael Steinberg got the Chiasson-and-Newman treatment on appeal. But he still had dozens and dozens of guilty pleas, those people he was able to browbeat into confessing to crimes that are no longer crimes. Those, surely, were safe.
A federal judge allowed four men to withdraw their insider-trading guilty pleas on Thursday, the latest fallout from a pivotal appeals court ruling in December that has put new limitations on prosecutors’ ability to pursue such cases.
The four men, who allegedly traded on tips about International Business Machine Corp.’s 2009 $1.2 billion acquisition of software company SPSS Inc., pleaded guilty in 2013 and 2014 to insider trading.
In court papers, Zvi Goffer, 38, said the jury instructions at his trial were tainted, leading to his June 2011 conviction.
He said a reversal was justified in light of last month's decision by a federal appeals court in New York that curbed prosecutors' ability to bring insider trading cases.