Opening statements begin in Mark Cuban's insider trading trial

Mark Cuban

Credit: WFAA

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, left, arrived for jury selection at his insider trading trial at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Dallas.

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 3:00 PM

DALLAS –– Opening statements in the government's civil trial against  Mark Cuban began on Tuesday with federal prosecutors argued that the Mavericks owner's desire to win fueled his decision to partake in insider training. 

Prosecutors for the Securities and Exchange Commission said the evidence will show Cuban should've "known better" than to dump stocks that he knew would soon fall in value. They say the CEO of the search engine website Mamma.com provided him with those details.

The government alleges that he saved $750,000 by dumping the stock. The SEC wants Cuban to give up the money and pay a civil penalty. 

Cuban's defense seems much more like offense. His lawyer, Dallas-based Thomas Melsheimer, on Tuesday argued the SEC was investigating the company in question, Mamma.com, as part of a separate fraud probe unrelated to Cuban. He hinted the SEC cut a deal with Mamma.com's CEO in exchange for testimony that's damning to Cuban and is the foundation for its entire case.

"I won't be bullied, that's the key element," Cuban said on Monday morning prior to jury selection. "The thing that I'm really looking forward to is shedding some sunlight on how the SEC really works." 

He declined to elaborate further, however, his lawyers say they will prove there was no confidential information and that their client never agreed to keep anything confidential. 

After opening statements, the SEC began staging its full case. The trial is expected to last three weeks –– jury selection took an abnormally long time on Monday because of Cuban's celebrity. 

Email dschechter@wfaa.com

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