SEC wants a jury

Regulators would rather face a jury than no-nonsense Judge Rakoff in Bank of America case

By Kim Peterson Oct 8, 2009 2:19PM
Remember Jed Rakoff, the federal judge that routinely smacks down Bank of America (BAC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission?

The SEC has had its fill of Rakoff, who rejected the commission's attempt to settle a lawsuit against Bank of America for a mere $33 million.

Instead of approving the settlement, Rakoff is pushing the whole debacle to a trial. So now, the SEC is demanding a jury trial instead of having Rakoff issue a verdict, the New York Post reports.

It makes sense. Perhaps 12 peers will have a little more sympathy for the commission than Rakoff, who has said the settlement "does not comport with the most elementary notions of justice and morality."

The trial date has been pushed to March, the Post reports.

"There was no way they were going to opt for a bench trial with this judge in light of the ruling that he made totally eviscerating their attempt to settle," said one New York lawyer about the SEC, according to the Post.

This case is all about Bank of America's acquisition last year of Merrill Lynch. Bank of America kinda forgot to tell shareholders about plans to pay billions of dollars in bonuses to Merrill employees, the SEC claims.

That might have made some a little suspicious about the whole deal.

Merrill had secretly planned to pay billions in bonuses, the SEC's suit charged. And Bank of America not only knew about it -- it authorized the move.


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