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April 05, 2000 03:17pm
Jury selection begins in McDermott insider case
Source: Reuters

(NEW YORK, NY) -- Jury selection began on Wednesday in the highly-publicized insider trading case against a former Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. chief executive charged with allegedly giving illegal tips to a pornographic actress.

Opening statements in the trial of James McDermott Jr., 48, of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., are scheduled to begin Monday in Manhattan federal court. He is accused of giving inside tips about six banking mergers to Kathryn Gannon, the adult film actress with whom he was having an affair.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ruled last month that federal prosecutors will not be able to tell the jury that Gannon starred in X-rated films and worked as an exotic dancer and escort. Wood found that the information might distract and prejudice the jury. Wood also ruled the government cannot introduce evidence implying that Gannon is a prostitute.

The judge did rule that prosecutors could refer to Gannon by her screen name of Marylin Star and state the actress had no prior experience in financial banking or securities trading.

McDermott, Gannon and Anthony Pomponio, another man with whom the actress was involved, were indicted in January for their role in the alleged two-year insider trading scheme.

Gannon, 30, is currently living in Canada.

The charges are based on allegations that McDermott stole confidential information from his firm about six upcoming mergers involving regional banks and gave it to Gannon. She, in turn, allegedly passed the tips to Pomponio. Prosecutors alleged Gannon and Pomponio made more than $170,000 in illegal profits based on the non-public information.

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