Trial for James Mazzo Ends in Hung Jury; Co-defendants DeCinces, Parker Convicted

May 12, 2017: By Joan McKenna

A federal jury concluded May 12 that it could not reach a verdict in the US government’s case against ophthalmic industry veteran James Mazzo on charges of insider trading, but jury members convicted co-defendants Doug DeCinces on 13 counts and David Parker on three counts.

Jury members deliberated for seven days.

Jury members deliberated seven days.

The jury told US District Judge Andrew Guilford on Day 7 of deliberations that members couldn’t reach agreement on the counts against Mazzo. Guilford declared a mistrial in his case.

Guilford will hold a status conference June 12 to discuss future proceedings in the case, including sentencing hearings.

Mazzo, 60, the former CEO and chairman of Advanced Medical Optics (AMO), was accused of providing nonpublic information to friend and neighbor DeCinces, a former major league ballplayer, in advance of Abbott’s 2009 acquisition of AMO. DeCinces made a profit of $1.3 million trading on the information, and he passed the information to associates, who also benefited, federal prosecutors said. The government also alleged that Mazzo shared inside information with DeCinces in relation to AMO’s 2007 acquisition of IntraLase Corp.

Jury members were asked to decide whether the US government’s case—which linked trades by DeCinces to prior phone calls or outings involving Mazzo and DeCinces—was sufficient for a conviction without evidence of what was said during those exchanges.

During closing arguments, defense attorneys spent five hours trying to convince the jury that prosecutors had produced no real evidence, while federal prosecutor spent one hour insisting that the evidence was overwhelming, according to Courthouse News Service.

The trial, which began March 7, was held in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Four weeks into the trial, Mazzo’s lawyers filed a motion for acquittal, claiming: “Putting aside the government’s rhetoric, there is no link between Mr. Mazzo and the trades in this case. Instead of relying on concrete evidence, the government piles unsupported inference upon unsupported inference, hoping that speculation will suffice in this criminal case. The government’s case rests on a series of unsupported assumptions: because Mr. Mazzo and Mr. DeCinces were friends and talked on occasion, Mr. Mazzo must have told Mr. DeCinces material, nonpublic information about the AMO-Abbott transaction; because Mr. DeCinces traded in AMO stock, he must have relied on inside information; because Mr. DeCinces was enthusiastic about the stock in early January, he must have known exactly what was going on within AMO. None of these inferences are supported by evidence, and none would convince a rational juror of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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