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ESPN Quotes Jeff Ifrah on FBI Leak from Walters Insider Trading Grand Jury Investigation

Billy Walters files motion to dismiss federal insider-trading case

Attorneys for Las Vegas businessman and renowned sports bettor Billy Walters filed a motion Friday asking a federal court in New York to dismiss a high-profile insider-trading case, alleging government misconduct related to information that was leaked to the media.

Walters, who has denied any wrongdoing, is charged with multiple counts of wire and securities fraud stemming from an investigation into a series of stock trades on dairy company Dean Foods made in 2012. Golfer Phil Mickelson and Thomas Davis, a former executive of Dean Foods, also were targeted in the investigation.

Mickelson was not criminally charged but did agree to pay back $1.03 million in “ill-gotten gains” he made from the stock trades.

Davis is a cooperating witness, according to court documents.

The case took a dramatic turn in December, when prosecutors acknowledged that an FBI agent had leaked confidential information to reporters at the New York Times and Wall Street Journal while the investigation was ongoing…

Jeff Ifrah, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based attorney, told ESPN that it isn’t uncommon for material about a grand jury investigation to be leaked to the media before an indictment. Ifrah also said that discovery of a leak doesn’t always lead to a dismissal.

“Courts are very hesitant to impose severe sanctions even when a violation is found,” said Ifrah, founder of Ifrah PLLC. “It is not inconceivable that a court could agree to dismiss an indictment in order to send a message that violations will not be tolerated. Certainly, indictments are dismissed when a Fourth or Fifth Amendment violation has occurred, such as when evidence supporting the indictment was improperly collected. I think the court can send a message in this case without dismissing the indictment, and it is quite possible that it will do so. A motion to dismiss on this basis will have a high bar to overcome.”

Mickelson and Walters have long played golf together and were linked in the Las Vegas sports betting community.

Walters is widely considered the most successful sports bettor in U.S. history. He also owns golf courses and several car dealerships and is active in the stock market.

Walters has been indicted twice previously but hasn’t been convicted.



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