Legal Technology

NYT Learns of Goldman Trader’s Legal Defense from Discarded Laptop

  • Print.

The New York Times has learned about the legal defenses for a Goldman Sachs trader from a discarded laptop discovered in a garbage area of a New York apartment building.

An artist and filmmaker gave legal materials from the laptop to the newspaper, saying a friend had discovered the computer in the garbage and given it to her in 2006, the New York Times reports. Even after artist Nancy Cohen obtained the laptop, email messages for the defendant, Fabrice Tourre, continued streaming into the computer, the story says.

The documents include draft replies by Allen & Overy to a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Tourre, a midlevel executive at Goldman. The replies point the finger at other Goldman employees, including two lawyers, who worked on the same targeted deal as Tourre.

Cohen said she ignored the streaming messages until she heard news reports about Tourre and decided to turn over the materials to the Times.

The Times cited the documents in a story that questioned why Tourre was the only individual at Goldman and across Wall Street sued by the SEC for selling a mortgage securities investment. “How Mr. Tourre alone came to be the face of mortgage-securities fraud has raised questions among former prosecutors and congressional officials about how aggressive and thorough the government’s investigations have been into Wall Street’s role in the mortgage crisis,” the newspaper says.

The legal replies mentioned two Goldman lawyers who worked on the deals, David Gerst and Darren Littlejohn, and a senior trader there who took a leading role in creating mortgage securities, Jonathan Egol, the Times says. The documents argued that Tourre was entitled to rely on legal counsel.

The SEC civil suit against Tourre is pending. It cites emails in which Tourre bragged that he would remain standing amid collapse and called himself “the fabulous Fab.” Goldman Sachs was also sued, and settled for $550 million.

Few cases have been brought against executives at large companies in connection with the financial crisis, and most allege civil rather than criminal fraud, the Times reports in a chart that lists them.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.