Help us out on this one. How is it reasonable of CNBC to have Jacob Zamansky on as an expert on the Bear Stearns hedge fund trial, while he currently has a lawsuit going on behalf of investors who lost money with Cioffi and Tannin, without any disclosure of it.
William L. Anderson is calling out the journalistic ridiculousness of this:
Zamansky is a New York attorney who also moonlights as a financial writer and appears on a number of business shows on the cable networks like CNBC.
Here is what Zamansky had to say about the opening day of the Cioffi-Tannin trial in Forbes:
My own view is that the government did an excellent job of keeping the case simple and focused, stressing that “the defendants are not on trial because the hedge funds collapsed or because of the market meltdown. The defendants are on trial because they lied to investors.” he defence, on the other hand, chose to educate the jury on hedge funds, leverage and CDOs. Their strategy appears to be to blame their clients’ behaviour on the fog of war.
We saw similar strategies in the Enron trial. In that case, prosecutors kept it simple by pounding home the idea that former bosses Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling lied to investors; the defence focused on off-balance sheet partnerships and other financial complexities.
He made similar statements on a CNBC program, except to almost guarantee a conviction. What Zamansky did not say was that the defence went to the heart of the government’s “insider trading” accusations against Cioffi, and clearly is not presenting a “fog of war” case. The New York Times reported about how the government’s narrative fared in the testimony of one of its early witnesses:
It is a maxim of trial advocacy that a lawyer should never be surprised by his own witness.
In the criminal fraud trial of two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, prosecutors have appeared to run afoul of that rule. On cross examination on Friday, the government’s second witness, Steven Van Solkema, a former Bear Stearns credit analyst who worked for the defendants, gave testimony that softened, if not eviscerated, the impact of what was thought to be a “smoking-gun” e-mail. (Emphasis mine)
It seems that Zamansky has missed that little segment, but there is a reason why he is willing to ride the government’s false narrative into the wall: he stands to make millions of dollars if the federal jury in Brooklyn convicts Cioffi and Tannin. Besides playing “journalist,” Zamansky is representing clients in a suit against the defendants’ former employer, Bear Stearns.
While Forbes disclosed that Zamansky has a lawsuit against Bear, CNBC said nothing. Now, even if there were disclosure, Zamansky has no business even making public comment on this case, let alone be writing for one of the supposed top business publications in the country.
Here’s the video. Yes, he takes a jab at Henry Blodget. That’s got nothing to do with our thinking that this is ridiculous.
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