Several former prosecutors say that the coming criminal trial of former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, brought up on fraud charges in connection with the implosion of two funds, is far from a slam dunk. And they say that any attempt by the government to build a case based on anti-Wall Street sentiment could backfire.
For the blood-thirsty, there’s the specter of retribution for an act that some believe tipped the first domino in the global financial crisis. For those who think bailout-happy Washington has taken it too easy on the financial sector, the prosecution of two hedge fund managers, the era’s shadowy and iconic Wall Street players, represents the first instance of government pushing back. And then there’s the legal community, eager to see whether an indictment so rich in seemingly damning e-mail messages will in fact yield guilty verdicts. NYT has a former litigator's analysis of the coming trial.