Jury selection could make or break billionaire's trial

Sept. 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM
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DALLAS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Legal experts said jury selection at Texas billionaire Mark Cuban's insider trading trial could be key to the outcome of the case.

"This is a classic credibility case for jurors to weigh who is telling the truth -- Cuban or [chief witness for the prosecution Guy] Faure," said attorney Ron Breaux, whose practice focuses on securities litigation.

The Texas Lawbook reported the jury selection process, which starts Monday, could be especially tricky, given Cuban's celebrity status and polar opposite opinions many have about the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

He is a "love him or hate him" figure, said Kimberly Priest-Johnson, a former federal prosecutor.

"Most people love him or hate him, but very few people are neutral about him," she said.

"Both sides need to deal with that in jury selection or they will lose this case," she said.

Both prosecutors and defense attorney's have already hired jury consultants, the Lawbook reported.

The basic approach will be to first weed out prospective jurors with strong opinions about Cuban. The next step will be different for each side. Prosecutors will look for jurors without strong backgrounds in finance, as they will tend to trust the government when considering something that is hard for them to understand, the Lawbook said.

Cuban's lawyers, on the other hand, will look for jurors who understand the complicated nature of financial law and can follow the details they present to argue that Cuban is innocent.

On another level, some people respect a self-made billionaire, while others may be resentful about the mega-rich man accused of cheating the system.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Cuban with using confidential information Faure gave him to avoid $750,000 in losses when he sold his 6 percent share of Canadian Web search company Mamma.com.

Faure is the former chief executive officer and president of the company.

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