Five years after it was filed, the Securities and Exchange Commission's insider trading suit against Mark Cuban is inching, slowly but inexorably, toward a showdown in court on September 30. Cuban, you'll recall, is accused of illegally using confidential information when he dumped his Mamma.com stock just before the company's fortunes took a nose-dive in 2004.
Now, after losing his bid to have the suit tossed, his lawyers want to ensure a fair trial. A fair trial requires an impartial jury, and an impartial jury requires people who haven't already formed opinions about the case, which will be hard because, ya know, Mark Cuban is super famous.
"It cannot be disputed that Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a high-profile figure in the Dallas area and elsewhere," his attorneys write. "Consistent with Cuban's profile, there has been significant local and national media coverage of this case since its inception."
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To back up this claim, they attach dozens of photocopied articles from news outlets large (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes) and not-so-large (the Tulsa World). They also for unknown reasons toss in an application for a wild restraining order filed by a man going by the name "Jonathan Nowitzki," which includes passages like the following:
At half time my brother Dirk got up and left the room to go to the kitchen to make some nacho's. I was left alone in the room with Cuban. Cuban was intoxicated from Miller Light. He drank 6 beers from the beginning of the game to half time. His speech was slurred, and he was stumbling around. When Dirk left, Mark Cuban came over to me and put his arm around my shoulder and started kissing me on my neck. I said "Whoa Cuban, I'm straight dude, I'm just here to watch the game." Cuban then said 'You know you want me' and "I can be your sugar daddy" and he put his tongue in my ear and put his hands down my pants."
To gauge whether materials such as these may have influenced potential jurors, Cuban's attorneys propose a simple, two-page questionnaire. It includes questions such as, "Have you ever heard of Mark Cuban? If YES, please explain any impressions or opinions you have about Mark Cuban," and, "Have you seen, read, or heard anything about the case the SEC has brought against the defendant, Mark Cuban? If YES, please describe the information you learned about this case before today."
Safe to say that anyone who mentions Cuban's attempted fling with Dirk's brother will be struck from the jury pool immediately.