Tourre Jury Hears Closing Arguments

Jul 31 2013 | 9:58am ET

Former Goldman Sachs executive Fabrice Tourre's fate is now in the hands of nine men and women who have spent the better part of a month hearing that he was the lying mastermind of a $1 billion fraud—and that he was just a mid-level employee following standard procedures.

The jury in the Securities and Exchange Commission's civil case against Tourre are set to begin deliberations today, after hearing closing arguments yesterday. Tourre is accused of misleading investors in a collateralized debt obligation about the role and plans of hedge fund Paulson & Co. The SEC alleges that Tourre deliberately withheld from investors Paulson's role in selecting the securities that went into the CDO and misled them about Paulson's plans to short the vehicle, which it did, earning huge profits.

Paulson has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case.

"Investors got half the story, half the trust," SEC lawyer Matthew Martens told the jury yesterday. "Half the truth is a fraud." And, he warned, "he was as willing to trick people in 2013 and he was in spring 2007. He was willing to lie to you on the witness stand to stay out of trouble."

Tourre testified for three days in the case, professing his innocence. His own legal team chose not to call any witnesses, apparently believing that prosecutors had manifestly failed to make their case.

One of Tourre's lawyers, John Coffey, sought to make that point clear, calling the prosecution's reliance on Tourre's playful e-mails to his girlfriend "pathetic."

"He came her to take the stand and told the truth," Coffey said. "It's in your power to clear his name."

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