Gambler Walters convicted of insider trading

Defense: Case against gambler fails because witness lied

A lawyer for a Las Vegas gambler linked to golfer Phil Mickelson has urged jurors at a NY trial to acquit his client of insider trading charges, saying the prosecution hangs on the lies of a witness.

Reuters reports Walters faced 10 counts, ranging from wire fraud to conspiracy. "To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement of my life. Frankly I'm in shock".

Mickelson wasn't charged. But the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him in a civil lawsuit of making almost $1 million trading Dean Foods stock.

Mickelson never testified in the case, though he had been on a list of prospective witnesses.

U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel set sentencing for July 14 and agreed to prosecution demands that Walters submit to electronic monitoring and give up use of his private plane.

Walters' lawyer, Berry Burke, said the verdict will be appealed.

Jurors found Walters earned some $43 million over six years based on illegal tips from his golfing pal Tom C. Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods Co.

A defense lawyer was scheduled to deliver a closing argument Thursday. Unless he's successful, Walters will be forced to walk away from Las Vegas businesses that include golf courses, auto dealerships and car-rental agencies, with total revenue of $500 million in 2013, according to testimony from his company's controller.

Walters, meanwhile, maintained he simply used the same research skills and insightful thinking that made him an ace sports gambler when he traded shares of Dean Foods, a leading dairy company.

At trial, Berke argued Davis had lied to get a sweetheart deal for himself. Davis, 68, has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges and was cooperating in the hopes of leniency at sentencing.

When asked what evidence convinced them Walters was guilty, one member of the jury, just before getting on an elevator, said, "Everything that was in front of us".

Mickelson wasn't charged with wrongdoing although he agreed to repay the profit he made.

Walters commented on the verdict outside court.

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