The battle originates from the convictions of Ross Mandell and Adam Harrington, principals of the now-defunct brokerage firm Sky Capital, for securities fraud in a case which seems to have generated peculiar interest from the federal government.
Both men are currently seeking to have their convictions overturned by trial judge Paul Crotty, whose pretrial rulings and trial decisions seemed to weigh strongly in the government's favor. It is likely the convictions will stand, with the stage being set for a real fight before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The basis for the challenge, and the appeals that are certain to follow, will be the interpretation of the recent 2010 Supreme Court case of Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd. The Morrison case involved a civil proceeding about which the Court held that Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act only applied to United States transactions. The Sky Capital defendants argue that the bases for their convictions are transactions which occurred outside the United States.
Eric Dixon is a New York investigative attorney.