The jury in the municipal bond bid-rigging trial in New York failed to reach a verdict Tuesday in its first day of deliberations.
“I gather you’ve had enough for the day,” Judge Harold Baer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan said at 5 p.m.
The 12 jurors will resume Wednesday morning to discuss the fates of Steven Goldberg, Peter Grimm and Dominick Carollo, executives of General Electric Co. affiliates charged with nine counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. The government alleges the three manipulated auctions for muni bond contracts and as a result defrauded issuers and the Internal Revenue Service of millions of dollars.
Central to the cases of both the government and the three defense teams are the more than 100 audio tapes of conversations among Goldberg, Grimm, Carollo and brokerages who helped the three execute deals.
Fittingly, four hours after the jury went into deliberation, attorneys were still bickering over tapes. Shortly after the 12 jurors sent Baer their second note, requesting all admitted tapes of conversations involving Carollo and a list of maturity dates for all government investment contracts on Baer’s list of featured deals, Grimm attorney Howard Heiss said he was “fairly certain” that some of the 16 tapes were not played during trial.
“You ought to know what you played and what you didn’t,” Baer told Heiss.
Delays from the government and defense teams scurrying to verify the number of Carollo-related tapes seemed to irritate Baer, who kept a sense of humor in an afternoon where levity appeared to offset courtroom tension. One odd sight during the wait featured lead prosecutor Wendy Waszmer and John Siffert, the lead attorney for Goldberg, sitting together and laughing in an otherwise empty jury box.
“Will we be able to solve this meteoric problem or will we have to tell the jury to wait a while?” Baer asked rhetorically. Handed a list of the maturity dates, the judge said: “I’d just like to see the final, final, final version.”
In its earlier note, sent an hour after the jury retired at about 11:50 a.m., jurors sought clarification of statutes of limitations and a list of U.S. Treasury regulations.
Before summoning the jury in the morning, Baer admonished defense lawyers about freely using the word “perjury,” in the aftermath of such testimony by broker Adrian Scott-Jones.
“Scott-Jones admitted to lying,” said Baer, who dismissed one count for each defendant — known formally as Count 3 — after Scott-Jones on the stand contradicted what he had told prosecutors in a sworn interview about supposed meetings with Goldberg. Scott-Jones disappeared after an April 26 lunch break following an initial layer of cross-examination.
“I’ve removed Scott-Jones from the jury’s mind,” Baer said before issuing his charge to the jurors. “They know not to consider his testimony in any fashion. I have no intention of bringing up his name, testimony or evidence given.”
Objecting to Waszmer’s submission rebuttal late Monday, Siffert accused former CDR Financial Products Inc. brokers Dani Naeh and Douglas Goldberg of lying to the IRS and on the stand, respectively.