Trials & Litigation

Hedge fund founder jailed after judge says he lunged at federal prosecutor during trial break

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hands in jail

Updated: A hedge fund founder on trial for allegedly faking investment gains was sent to jail Monday after prosecutors accused him of trying to intimidate an assistant U.S. attorney during a trial break.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan revoked bail for Mark Nordlicht, founder of the collapsed hedge fund Platinum Partners, report Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Prosecutors had described the alleged incident in a letter to the judge. Nordlicht and his wife were passing a group of prosecutors, when Nordlicht shouted at prosecutor Lauren Elbert: “You have no f—ing morals!” Nordlicht’s wife tried to restrain her husband, nearly removing his jacket as he cursed and screamed.

Nordlicht’s lawyer, Jose Baez, said Nordlicht merely had lost “his cool” and just raised his voice in the May 2 incident. Cogan disagreed, saying that explanation doesn’t accord with surveillance video, according to the Bloomberg story.

There was “a lunge” toward Elbert, Cogan said during the Monday hearing. Although Nordlicht probably wouldn’t have hit Elbert, he approached her “in a very aggressive, physical way,” Cogan said.

“I’ve had cases with Mafia hit men and Mexican sicarios and terrorists who’ve tried to blow up buildings, but I’ve never had any of them act this way,” Cogan said.

The judge previously presided in the trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo’’ Guzman.

Cogan ordered the release of Nordlicht on Tuesday. Cogan’s order did not state a reason for reversing his prior decision to jail Nordlicht.

Updated May 8 at 1:40 p.m. to report on Nordlicht’s release.

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