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UPDATE: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Testifies In Insider Trading Trial

Cuban_outside_court_NEW.jpg
BJ Austin
/
KERA News

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is in federal court in Dallas, telling jurors about calls and emails he sent to the CEO of an Internet firm shortly before he sold all his shares in the company. Cuban’s lawyers say there was no privileged information in the conversation.

Update, 3:15 p.m. Thursday: KERA's BJ Austin has this report on today's testimony:

The Securities and Exchange Commission says Cuban used confidential information from a phone call with the CEO of mamma.com about plans to sell more public shares of the company.

Prosecutors say that Cuban immediately sold his 600,000 shares to avoid losing $750,000. The additional stock sale would have diluted Cuban’s existing stock value and reduced his 6 percent ownership in the company. 

Cuban’s lawyers say they’ll prove that there was no privileged information in the conversation. On the stand Thursday, Cuban told prosecutors that he couldn’t recall what was said.

Prosecutors lined up a list of emails in which Cuban says he sold his shares because of the additional public stock offering.  Cuban told jurors that was only one of several reasons he decided to sell.

Outside the courtroom during a lunch break, Mark Cuban preferred to talk to reporters about the Mavericks and the start of a new season.

“It’s a special time when the season starts so I’m obviously very, very excited,” Cuban said.  

Back in the courtroom, Cuban showed his Mavs cufflinks to the court.  He also turned to directly address jurors when answering some questions.  During a short break as prosecutors conferred, Cuban asked the judge if he could stand up and stretch.

“My back hurts a little bit, but you know it’s always painful when I can’t be at practice watching the Mavs,” Cuban said. “So that’s always a problem.”

Federal prosecutors are seeking the $750,000 plus penalties.  The trial, which began Monday, could last three weeks.

Update, 12:15 p.m. Thursday: KERA's BJ Austin has the latest details:

Taking the stand this morning, Cuban answered questions from prosecutors about a series of emails and an eight-minute phone call with the CEO of an internet search engine company in which he had invested. 

Cuban testified he could not recall what was said during the phone call in 2004.

Cuban is accused of using insider information from the CEO to sell stock and save about $750,000 in losses.

The CEO, Guy Fauré, testified he told Cuban about a planned special stock offering that would dilute Cuban’s existing shares and told Cuban that information was  confidential.

Cuban disputes that.

Cuban looks relaxed and frequently speaks directly to jurors as prosecutors present a list of emails in which Cuban told emailers that he sold his mamma.com shares because of that public equity stock offering.

Cuban says that’s only one of reasons he sold.

The trial could last three weeks.

Original post: Mark Cuban is telling jurors in federal court in Dallas this morning about calls and emails he sent to the CEO of an Internet firm shortly before he sold all his shares in the company. 

The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks began testifying Thursday in the government's insider-trading lawsuit. The Securities and Exchange Commission accuses Cuban of using confidential inside information to dump his shares before the company announced news that sent the stock down.

Cuban has been jousting at times with the SEC lawyer questioning him, but he's also been smiling and making a few jokes.
 
The SEC wants Cuban to pay a fine and give up $750,000 in losses he avoided by selling the Mamma.com stock, but he's not charged with a crime. Cuban denies wrongdoing.

KERA’s BJ Austin is at today’s trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees keranews.org, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.