Mark Cuban's E-Mail War With the SEC Revealed

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Mark Cuban's E-Mail War With the SEC Revealed

Fri Nov 21, 2008 @ 07:27PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Cubanmark Do Mark Cuban's legal troubles with the SEC stem from interest by the billionaire's film company in picking up a documentary for distribution?

Sounds crazy, but prior to Cuban being sued by the SEC for insider sales of 600,000 shares of Internet search engine Mamma.com in 2004, Cuban got into a heated e-mail exchange with Jeffrey Norris, trial counsel for the SEC in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 2007, buzz circulated that Cuban's Magnolia Pictures was interested in distributing a film called "Loose Change,"  about the Bush administration's role in planning the 9/11 attacks. Norris contacted Cuban and called him unpatriotic, writing, "Either you are really an anti-American ideologue or your allegiance to making money is significantly greater than your dedication to your country."

Norris continued:

"I assume that Mr. Cox would view your involvement with 'Loose Change' much as I do. After all, he served his country as a Republican congressman from Orange County for nearly 20 years and was appointed by President Bush."

Norris' beef with Cuban didn't end there. Apparently, Norris was a Dallas Mavericks fan (the team is owned by Cuban) and when the Mavs lost in the playoffs that year, Norris posted a comment on Time.com's website and then e-mailed the comment to Cuban that mockingly accused him of orchestrating the loss (echoing, ironically, the kind of accusations made in "Loose Change"). Cuban responded by replying to Norris and cc'ing SEC Chairman Christopher Cox about whether Norris' message was a proper use of taxpayer dollars.

The heated discussion continued. The two individuals traded nasty e-mail insults for quite a long time, and now the full detailed e-mail chain has been fully leaked. This probably won't get Cuban off the hook, but his return-fire has been interesting to say the least. Usually, defendants are nice and quiet when facing the government in court. Do Cuban's lawyers approve of the way their client is handling his own defense? If you're Marc Cuban's lawyers, there's probably not much you can do to control your client.

The SEC says that Norris wasn't involved in the investigation into Cuban's insider trading activities and that he's being reviewed for possible disciplinary action.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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