NEW YORK — Jury selection began Tuesday in the retrial of Frank Quattrone, the highly successful Silicon Valley investment banker accused of obstructing a federal stock probe in 2000.
U.S. District Judge Richard Owen asked prospective jurors whether they had heard of the case and whether they could be fair despite the recent rash of headlines about corporate scandals. Most said they had not heard of the case and could be fair.
The judge also ordered reporters not to publish the name of any juror, prospective or seated, "until further order of this court."
The ruling was apparent fallout from the April 2 mistrial of two former Tyco International executives. In that trial, some newspapers printed the name of a juror who made what some interpreted as an "OK" signal to the defense.
The judge in that case declared a mistrial after the juror later reported receiving threats. The juror has denied making any hand signal.
Earlier this year in the Martha Stewart trial, a federal judge barred reporters from seeing any of the jury selection process. A federal appeals court later said the judge should have been less restrictive.
In the Quattrone case, Owen denied a defense request last week to keep the jury anonymous. But he left open the possibility of barring reporters from publishing the names — and exercised that option Tuesday.
Owen said jurors should expect the trial to last about three weeks, but he cautioned that "in this room, nothing is written in stone." Quattrone's first trial lasted four weeks before ending in a hung jury last October.
The center of the case is a Dec. 5, 2000, e-mail Quattrone sent to subordinates at Credit Suisse First Boston, urging them to "catch up on file cleaning" by destroying some files.
At the time, the government had subpoenaed documents from CSFB as it investigated how the bank doled out shares of hot new stocks during the late-1990s Internet boom.
Quattrone contends he did nothing wrong, did not know the scope of the investigation and was simply obeying CSFB policy, which called for regular destruction of documents.
The 48-year-old former banker is charged with obstructing a grand jury, obstructing the Securities and Exchange Commission and witness tampering.
It remained unclear whether Quattrone would take the witness stand again in his own defense.
Some jurors said after the first trial that Quattrone hurt his case by appearing combative on the stand and appearing to contradict his lawyer's assertion that he had no involvement in how CSFB doled out stock shares.
Quattrone testified that while he had some involvement in stock allocation discussions, he never made any decisions on who received shares.
Quattrone was an industry star at CSFB, making as much as $120 million a year. He took technology companies like Amazon.com and Netscape Communications Corp. public for various banks.