2:04pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Jury Clears Mark Cuban of Insider Trading
In a victory that could be as satisfactory as his Dallas Mavericks winning the NBA championship, Mark Cuban has beaten the Securities and Exchange Commission in a long-running contentious legal dispute.
The billionaire owner of Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures and AXS TV, who also stars on ABC's popular Shark Tank, was charged with violating federal securities laws by trading on alleged inside information in the sale of Mamma.com. The SEC accused him of learning through the company's chief executive of a plan that would hurt the company's stock price. Cuban quickly sold his shares, avoiding $750,000 in losses, but he maintained that he didn't know that the information that was provided to him was confidential.
On the witness stand, Cuban testified that he didn't remember details of a conversation nearly a decade ago. Attorneys representing the SEC struggled to demonstrate his mindset at the time of the stock sale. The agency pursued the case for many years -- having the case dismissed by a judge before revived by an appellate court. Through that time, the SEC mocked Cuban's "Hollywood production schedule." There were also Cuban attacks on the wisdom of the SEC's expenditure of time and resources to hunt him.
Cuban was facing $2 million in penalties if found liable.
Instead, after three and a half hours of deliberation, a jury found in his favor. The defendant reportedly smiled as the verdict was announced.