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The Wilpons’ expert witness has an interesting past

Feb 7, 2012, 9:58 AM EDT

Fred Wilpon

Barring a settlement, it looks as though the trial in which the Mets owners are being accused of either knowing about or being negligent regarding the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme is going to go down next month.  And though the ultimate outcome of that trial will have a big impact on the Mets, the blow-by-blow of it all is not really about baseball — and it’s kind of boring — so we haven’t been following it too closely recently.

But there’s a story in the New York Times that is interesting enough to catch my attention.  It’s about the Wilpons’ sole expert witness in the case. An expert witness — by the name of John Maine, which is cool — who will testify that the Wilpons had no reason to know what was going on and had adequately fulfilled their duties once they learned what was happening.  He did that once before in another case, however, and it didn’t go so well:

Maine testified that the supervisor’s responsibilities for protecting against fraud were limited, and effectively ended when he reported suspicions about the broker up the chain of command at Dean Witter. The expert testimony didn’t fly. Indeed, the S.E.C. judge overseeing the case against the supervisor actually offered a withering critique of Maine’s testimony.

Maine “had not read any case law on the topic” at hand, Thomas Kelly, the administrative law judge, wrote in his opinion. The judge also said that it appeared Maine’s “written expert testimony was prepared in large part” not by Maine, but by the supervisor’s lawyers who had hired him.

Now, this was a long time ago, and he has since testified in many, many cases.  If they had consistently gone bad, you can imagine that the Times would have dug them up too.  Being an expert witness is quite often a professional gig, and sometimes an expert’s testimony and credibility is blown out of the water in one case while it carries the day wonderfully in the next.

But it’s still kind of interesting. And it reminds us that the Wilpons have an awful lot riding on this case.

  1. pjmitch - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Well that’s the problem….The Mets are using ex-pitchers as their expert witnesses. Who is next? Doc Gooden? Turk Wendell? Jay Hook?

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      In which case they are better off calling Tom Seaver to save the day!

  2. The Dangerous Mabry - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    The Mets have been telling us how awesome John Maine is for years now. And while he certainly can look pretty great sometimes, he’s certainly got a track record of mixed results.

    So long as they don’t ask him to go more than 5 innings at the trial, though, he’ll probably be ok.

  3. kranepool - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    can’t wait until Armando Benitez comes out for the closing summation

  4. crisisjunky - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    The Metsies HAD a great closer, but he has a history of punching people in courthouses…..

    • crisisjunky - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      ….or perhaps jury tampering…. they could bring in David Cone to threaten tthe jury at gunpoint with bleach….

  5. sdelmonte - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    I wonder if the baseball John Maine is getting all sorts of messages today from friends riding him about this.

  6. stackers1 - Feb 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Your right – it’s kind of boring.

  7. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    So nobody on Wall Street, save for one or two guys, or anybody at the SEC knew about Madoff’s scheme, but a jury (or judge, not sure how this is being tried) is going to find a couple of baseball owners should have? I put my money on ‘not gonna happen.’

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