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March 23, 2000 05:51pm
Porn star equals actress in insider case, court says
Source: Reuters

(NEW YORK, NY) -- A woman who allegedly got inside stock tips from a former Wall Street investment banker can be called an actress, a dancer and model in court - but not a porn star, a federal judge said on Thursday.

James McDermott Jr., 48, former chief executive of investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., goes on trial next month for allegedly giving inside information to an adult film actress with whom he was having an affair.

But jurors on the case will hear the woman, Kathryn Gannon, described as an actress, dancer and model rather than as a porn star or an exotic dancer, which might prejudice some people against her, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood said at a pretrial hearing.

Gannon, 30, uses the name Marylin Star in adult films and in a sexually graphic Internet Web site, court papers said. Gannon, who lives in Canada, was not present at the hearing.

Defense lawyers had argued against disclosing to the jury that McDermott's lover worked as an adult actress, exotic dancer and escort, saying in court papers such evidence could only be intended to ``incite and inflame'' the jury.

Federal prosecutors have argued her job is relevant, to show she would not have been able to trade stocks of merging banks without her relationship with McDermott.

McDermott allegedly stole confidential information about six upcoming bank mergers and gave it to Gannon. She in turn passed it on to another man with whom she was involved, Anthony Pomponio. Prosecutors allege the two made more than $170,000 in illegal profits from the information.

Pomponio goes to trial on April 10, a week later than originally scheduled, the judge said on Thursday.

McDermott resigned from Keefe last summer amid the scandal and the investment bank axed plans to sell stock to the public in an initial public offering (IPO). Defense lawyers also argued in the hearing that remarks McDermott made at a Keefe board meeting in May about an IPO should not be relevant to the case, but federal prosecutors have argued it is critical.

Judge Wood on Thursday asked for submissions from each side on the issue but said discussion of the IPO at the trial would be ``time-consuming'' and ``distracting'' to the jury, and that companies cancel IPOs for a multitude of reasons.

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