Here’s what the government claimed: that Mark Cuban got confidential information in a phone call with the CEO of the internet search firm mamma.com, then immediately sold his stock in the company to avoid a $750,000 loss — and that was insider trading.
The jury said no.
Cuban says the Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers twisted evidence and that prosecutor Jan Folena lied.
“They weren’t trying to use the facts to convince. They were trying to deceive the jury. They were trying to pull a fraud on the jury. That’s just wrong when someone who represents, Jan Folena who represents the United States of America stands up there and lies.”
After the verdict, prosecutor Folena defended her case.
“And we think we did the best we possibly could in this case, and I was proud to represent the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Lead attorney on Cuban’s legal team, Tom Melsheimer says the case against Cuban’s 2004 mamma.com stock sale took three years to even hit the radar, and nine years to bring to trial. He calls it some sort of “vendetta or attack job by the SEC.” And he calls the verdict a rare win against the government.
“It doesn’t happen for everyone. Mark Cuban was able to stand up to these guys and most people can’t do that. Most people crater. And he wasn’t willing to do that and he spent a tremendous amount of money defending this case really out of principle.”
Cuban says his legal bills far exceed the $3 million or so he would have had to pay if the verdict had gone the other way. But he says he was not about to be bullied by the SEC.
“When you put someone on the stand and call them a liar, it’s personal. When you take all the years of my life and try to prove a point, it’s personal.”
Outside the courthouse Cuban said he doesn’t feel like a winner. He’s frustrated and disappointed that the case was brought in the first place. And says he’s blessed he had the means to fight back.
Then he crossed the street to take pictures with a group of middle school students who recognized him, smiling broadly as the group yelled ”Go Mavs” as the picture was snapped.