A federal judge struck a major blow to the government’s case against two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers today when he ruled that jurors would not be permitted to hear about an email in which one of the fund’s managers said “We could blow up.”
The judge in the case ruled today in favour of suppressing the message, which was written in November.
“I became very worried very quickly,” Bear fund manager Matthew Tannin wrote in the e-mail. “Credit is only deteriorating. I was worried that this would all end badly and that I would have to look for work.”
Judge Frederic Block ruled that the government’s search warrant filed in July with Google to obtain access to the e-mail was overly broad and “did not comply with the Warrants Clause of the Fourth Amendment.”
That email is considered by many to be one of the key pieces of evidence against Tannin and his boss, Ralph Cioffi.
“We could not run the leverage as high as I had thought we could — or to see that in an extreme event — we could blow up,” Tannin wrote in the email. “I was also very nervous about the state of the market and how we were going to perform.”
You can imagine that prosecutors were salivating when Google sent them the message.
But now Judge Block has ruled that the warrant that allowed the government to get ahold of the email was “unconstitutionally broad.”
“The warrant did not, on its face, limit the items to be seized from Tannin’s personal e-mail account to e-mails containing evidence of the crimes charged in the indictment, or, indeed, any crime at all,” Block wrote. “It was, therefore, unconstitutionally broad.”
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