Why Mathew Martoma pleaded not guilty


Mathew Martoma can't look back now.

The window of opportunity to reverse track and cooperate with prosecutors had been slightly open. But with his decision to formally plead not guilty to criminal insider trading, that window has firmly closed, barring something dramatic.

He's heading toward a trial, which carries the risk of significant jail time if he's convicted. Forbes calls it the riskiest trade of his life.

So why did Martoma plead not guilty?

One could speculate endlessly. Perhaps he fears the prospect of jail time less than the prospect of testifying against a powerful figure like Steven Cohen. Maybe his lawyers convinced him can win at trial. He likes his chances apparently, though recent cases in which prosecutors did not have wiretap evidence make clear that the government can prevail. Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman were both convicted of fraud and conspiracy related to insider trading and will be sentenced in April. 

The Martoma trial will essentially come down to the key witness, 80-year old Dr. Sid Gilman, who is said to have provided inside information to Martoma. If the defense can impeach his testimony, they have a strong chance at winning.

It will be interesting to see how they treat him. They could take a direct approach, trying to destroy him emphatically. But that might backfire with the jury. They might take the gentle approach, painting him as an elderly naïve doctor and academic who is being used by the government. In any case, it will be exciting. At this point, you'd have to give the government the edge.

For more:
- here's an article from Thomson Reuters News & Insight   

Related articles:
Why did a doctor turn to insider trading? 
Mathew Martoma will not turn on Steven Cohen