The jury in the trial of former Brocade CEO Greg Reyes is set to begin its deliberations today.
On Friday the closing arguments were heard, and the judge adjourned the court until today, when he is set to deliver his summary and instructions to the jury.
Reyes faces multiple criminal charges of fraud related to stock option backdating. If he is convicted, he could suffer large fines, a jail sentence, or both.
He is the first senior executive to have been brought to trial by the US government’s promised campaign to stamp out badly accounted stock option backdating. Depending on the circumstances, an acquittal might be the beginning of an early end to that campaign.
Computer Business Review’s legal source said that verdicts of not guilty from the jury would be unlikely to bring the anti-backdating campaign to a halt. The US Department of Justice would simply move on with charges against other executives or other companies that it alleges indulged in inappropriate stock option back-dating.
But there is another way that Reyes could be found innocent. If the jury were to find him guilty, the judge hearing the case could still overturn the conviction on technical legal grounds, most likely related to a failure to prove criminal intent. The judge has already preserved that option for himself by not rejecting a defense motion to dismiss the case.
If that happens, the US government could appeal against his interpretation of the law. But if it lost that appeal, then its campaign would very likely be permanently shelved.