DALLAS — Mark Cuban says he learned he was being sued for insider trading when he turned on CNBC one day ‘‘and I was the headline.’’
The billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner told jurors in federal court Monday that he could have settled the case — he’s not likely to face more than $2 million to $3 million in fines and penalties if he loses — but he hired lawyers and fought back because ‘‘I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be bullied.’’
Monday marked Cuban’s second day on the witness stand. The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Cuban, claiming that he broke a confidentiality agreement when he unloaded his shares in a Canadian Internet company in 2004. The government says he avoided $750,000 in losses by selling his shares on insider information about a pending stock offering before it was announced publicly.
Cuban was called as a witness by the SEC. When he finished testifying late Monday, his lawyers asked US District Judge Sidney Fitzwater to throw out the case, saying the SEC had failed to prove insider trading. The judge, who had dismissed the case in 2009 only to be overturned by an Appeals Court, denied Cuban’s motion.
Cuban detailed his concern over connections between Mamma.com Inc. and a convicted stock swindler, Irving Kott. Cuban’s lawyer offered e-mails indicating that he had raised questions about Kott.
Cuban’s side is highlighting Kott to buttress its defense that Cuban had many reasons for selling his stock. The SEC argues that Cuban sold his shares only after learning privately about Mamma.com’s plan to issue additional shares — a move that would lower the value of Cuban’s stock.
‘‘We’re not saying he fabricated his concern about Kott,’’ SEC lawyer Jan Folena said in court. ‘‘We’re saying his concerns about Kott are not the reason he sold his stock. There’s a difference.’’