Securities Law

Lawyer on Witness List in Backdating Trial

A high-tech lawyer who is a former member of the board for Brocade Communications Systems could be called as a witness for both the prosecution and defense in the trial of the company’s ex-CEO.

Gregory Reyes is accused of routinely backdating stock options awarded to employees at the data-storage networking firm. He goes on trial today in San Francisco in a criminal case that will test jurors’ response to options backdating, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reyes contends name partner Larry Sonsini of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati urged that Reyes be allowed to grant options with little oversight. He maintains he never personally benefited from backdated stock options and he didn’t understand the complicated accounting rules.

Reyes’ attorney told the newspaper he plans to call Sonsini as a witness. Sonsini is also on the government’s list of potential witnesses.

Wilson Sonsini has responded to Reyes’ allegations with a civil suit that says the company gave Reyes options authority a year before Sonsini joined the company’s board.

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