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9th Circuit Tosses Reyes' Backdating Conviction Due To Prosecutorial Misconduct

Publication Date: 
August 19, 2009
Zusha Elinson

Professor Robert Weisberg talked to's Zusha Elinson about the new trial ordered by the Ninth Circuit for former Brocade CEO Gregory Reyes on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out former Brocade CEO Gregory Reyes' criminal conviction for backdating stock options because of prosecutorial misconduct (pddf).

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit on Tuesday ordered a new trial because the prosecution misled jurors with false assertions during closing arguments.

The reversal destroys the government's first and most high-profile conviction of an executive for the backdating scandal that swept technology companies earlier this decade. Reyes was convicted of conspiracy and fraud in August 2007 for backdating employee stock options. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison and given a $15 million fine.

"Given that the government was very selective about picking poster-child cases for backdating, this is a problem, no question about it," said Robert Weisberg, a professor at Stanford Law School who teaches criminal law.