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Mark Cuban not guilty of insider trading

DALLAS — Mark Cuban won a years-long fight with the federal government Wednesday when jurors said that the billionaire basketball team owner did not commit insider-trading when he sold his shares in an Internet company in 2004.

The jury in federal district court in Dallas found that the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to prove the key elements of its case, including the claim that Cuban agreed to keep certain information confidential and not trade on it.

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The nine-member jury deliberated for about four hours before reaching the unanimous decision to end a three-week trial.

During an impromptu press conference outside the courthouse, Cuban angrily denounced the SEC and its lead trial attorney, Jan Folena, saying that they lied about the evidence and targeted him because of his fame. He said that defendants of lesser wealth could have been bullied.

“Hopefully people will start paying attention to how the SEC does business,” Cuban said. “I’m glad I’m able to be the person who can afford to stand up to them.”

Folena, who left the courthouse just minutes before Cuban, said, “We believe we did the best we could in this case, and things turn out the way they turn out.”

The SEC accused Cuban of using inside information to sell $7.9 million of stock in Mamma.com Inc. in 2004 after he learned confidentially of a stock offering that would depress the price of shares in the search engine company.

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