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Judge Rejects Bid to Move Quattrone Trial

Jan 12, 2004 | AP

A federal judge on Monday denied a request by former star technology banker Frank Quattrone to have his second trial moved from New York to California.

Quattrone had asked for the move because his wife is ill and because he wants to be closer to his teenage daughter. The family lives in Menlo Park, Calif.

But U.S. District Judge Richard Owen said federal prosecutors in California were not prepared to take the case now, and he said any trial even close to home would keep Quattrone away from his family for large amounts of time.

"That factor is sad to tragic, but I don't know what can be done about it," Owen said. "If there's a trial, there's a trial."

Quattrone is due for retrial March 22 on charges he obstructed justice by sending an e-mail in late 2000 to employees at Credit Suisse First Boston to destroy documents.

He claims he was simply following company policy, which called for routine document destruction. At the time, the government was investigating how CSFB had allocated shares of hot new Internet stocks.

Quattrone's first trial in Manhattan federal court ended Oct. 24 in a mistrial, with jurors failing to reach a verdict on any of the three counts against him.

The judge also denied a motion by Quattrone's attorney, John W. Keker, to gain access to certain grand jury material from the original investigation.

Owen also appeared to indicate he would soon deny a motion by the Quattrone defense team to transfer the case to another judge. The defense cited "pro-government, anti-defense comments" by the judge at the first trial.

At the first trial, the judge told Keker: "You're like a fire hydrant on the corner of somewhere in New York City in the summer, and I can't turn you off."

On Monday, Owen said of the remark: "It seems to me the court has a right to get a little colloquial. Which I did."

The government said it may ask the judge to delay the second trial, perhaps until early April, because one of the prosecutors handling the Quattrone case, David Anders, is also assigned to the trial of former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan. That trial begins Feb. 4.

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