Updated from 5:28 p.m. EST
Federal prosecutors said late Tuesday that they intend to seek a retrial of former investment banker Frank Quattrone on obstruction of justice charges.
Prosecutors made the announcement after canceling a Wednesday meeting with U.S. District Judge Richard Owen to discuss a new trial schedule. The cancellation had sparked speculation that prosecutors might decide not to retry Quattrone, following an earlier mistrial on the same charges.
Judge Owen ordered the hearing after an 11-member jury could not reach a verdict on the obstruction of justice charges against the former
Credit Suisse First Boston
banker during a four-week trial in October. The judge declared a mistrial after the jury was at an impasse following six days of deliberation.
The prosecution made the announcement in a letter to the judge, which it released to the public. But the parties have not yet agreed on a date for a new trial.
A spokesman for Quattrone and his lawyer, John Keker, could not be reached for comment.
Following the mistrial on Oct. 24, prosecutors said they were not ready to say whether they would retry Quattrone on the obstruction charges. Some legal observers interpreted that indecisiveness as a indication that prosecutors might be willing to drop the charges or let Quattrone plead guilty to a lesser offense.
Earlier this year, Comey's office charged Quattrone with two counts of obstruction and one count of witness tampering in a case that largely revolves around a single email the investment banker sent to his colleagues nearly three years ago.
Prosecutors contend that Quattrone tried to get CSFB employees to destroy emails and other communications just as a Justice Department probe of the bank's IPO practices was beginning. The investigation centered around allegations that CSFB dished out hot IPO shares to favored clients and hedge funds in return for higher-than-normal commissions, or "kickbacks."
The criminal investigation of CSFB ended without any charges being brought. Last year CSFB settled a related civil investigation by the
Securities and Exchange Commission
and the NASD by paying a $100 million fine.
But from the start, many saw the case against Quattrone as weak because it focused on a single email in which the banker reminded his underlings to "clean up their files." Quattrone's controversial email actually was a response to a longer email penned by one of his underlings, Richard Char. In that message, Char reminded the technology investment banking team of the danger of keeping around unnecessary documents that might later be used against the firm in civil litigation.
After the email was sent out to the banking team, Quattrone chimed in with a one-sentence reply that more or less echoed Char's admonition.