DALLAS –– Lawyers for Mark Cuban punched back at the government Monday morning in the insider-trading case against the Dallas Mavericks owner.
With Cuban on the stand, his lawyers are making the point that Cuban had on-going concerns about wrong-doing at Canadian Internet company Mamma.com.
He is accused of selling $7.5 million in stock in the search engine company based on inside info given to him by Mamma.com's CEO.
Judge Sidney Fitzwater handed the Securities and Exchange Commission a significant defeat when he overruled objections and allowed key evidence that Cuban’s lawyers used to show Cuban’s story has remained consistent since 2004 and that he has nothing to hide.
The evidence is two sets of hand-written notes by SEC lawyers, from 2004. Back then the SEC, like Cuban, was concerned about possible fraudulent activity at Mamma.com. Two days after Cuban sold the stock in question, he voluntarily spoke with two SEC lawyers for 90 minutes, telling them what he knew about the company.
“I have done nothing wrong," Cuban said in court. "I refused to be bullied, even if it is the government.”
During that same time period, Cuban also voluntarily handed over stock purchase records and personal e-mails to held aid the government’s investigation. Those are the same records the government is now using as evidence against Cuban.
“I’d done nothing wrong," Cuban said. "Just trying to help.”
The government argued the notes from the SEC lawyers were simply a record of a phone call, not an official position by the SEC. Judge Fitzwater ruled the notes were important for the jury to decide if Cuban’s story has remained consistent from 2004 until now.
The SEC claims Cuban used his status as the biggest shareholder in Mamma.com to learn about a stock sale that would hurt the value of his shares. The SEC says Cuban avoided a $750,000 loss by selling his shares before the company publicly announced the stock sale.
Cuban testified Friday that he never promised to keep information about a stock issue confidential.
The SEC is suing Cuban in a civil case; he isn't charged with a crime.