HOW TO IMPEACH A WITNESS: Trial Attorney Eviscerates Guy Who Gave Yale A Baseball Stadium With Money He Stole

John MazzutoJohn Mazzuto mug shot (excerpt)

There’s a big stock fraud trial going on in New York that just produced a hell of a cross-examination.On the stand was John D. Mazzuto, the former CEO of a Pittsburgh-based company called IEAM.

Earlier this year, after sitting in jail for 7 months, unable to afford bail, Mazzuto pleaded guilty to his role in a $60 million stock fraud. 

Now, after cutting a deal with prosecutors, he’s testifying against his former chief counsel, James Margulies.

(Bloomberg has the full background on the case here. The trial could have major implications for Baker & McKenzie, the world’s second-largest law firm, which could be on the hook for facilitating the fraud.)

Before his fall, Mazzuto lived the high life–Hamptons + Palm Beach mansions, cars, etc. He also gave his alma-mater, Yale, a $1.7 million gift to build a baseball stadium. In 2009, the stadium was christened “John and Theresa Mazzuto Field.” Back in the day, Mazzuto had played shortstop for Yale. Theresa is (or was) his fifth or sixth wife. Yale has since settled with IEAM, paid back $1 million of the gift, and, presumably, taken Mazzuto’s name off the field.

Anyway, Mazzuto took the stand at the fraud trial and testified against his former partner Margulies.

And then Margulies’s lawyer had at him on cross examination.

And let’s just say that Mr. Mazzuto was not a difficult witness to impeach.

First, establish the background...

Then, get down to business...

Next, remind the jury that the witness is always an honest man.

Q You decided to lie to avoid responsibility for your actions?

A Yes.

Q You decided to lie to avoid problems?

A Yes.

Q You decided to lie to keep the fraud going?

A Yes

Q You decided to lie to get what you wanted for yourself?

A Yes

Q Regardless of the consequences to others?

A Yes...

Q Have you lied under oath at any time, Mr. Mazzuto?

A Yes

Q So you made a decision to lie under oath?

A At that time in the past, yes.

Q Do you know what it means to lie under oath?

A Yes.

Q It means that you're committing an act of perjury, doesn't it?

A Yes.

Q You decided to lie to avoid the risk of discovery?

A Yes.

Q You decided to lie to avoid responsibility for your fraudulent conduct?

A Yes

Q How many people did you deceive in the activities you've talked about?

A I --

Q Just give us an estimate. How many people do you think you've deceived?

A Hundreds.

Q And this was face to face on occasion, wasn't it?

A Yes.

Q And on other occasions it was on the telephone?

A Yes.

Q And on other occasions it was in writing?

A Yes...

You get the picture... The witness-credibility-trashing lasted hours. And there was a lot of material to work with. Here's a summary of some of what the jury learned about Mr. Mazzuto, compiled by an investor in Mazzuto's former company

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