by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the insider trading conviction and five-year prison sentence of famed Las Vegas sports gambler William “Billy” Walters, even as it chastised an FBI agent for leaking grand jury information about the case.
Walters, 72, had been accused of using nonpublic information from former Dean Foods Co DF.N Chairman Thomas Davis about the dairy processing company and from Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc DRI.N to make more than $43 million in profits and avoided losses from 2008 to 2014.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Walters’ April 2017 conviction was not unconstitutionally tainted by several leaks from Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent David Chaves to reporters about the grand jury probe.
It also rejected Walters’ claims that prosecutors suborned perjury by Davis over the use of a disposable cellphone nicknamed the “Batphone” to provide tips, and that the evidence didn’t support his conviction related to Darden.
“Walters received a full and fair trial in which there was overwhelming evidence to support his conviction,” Circuit Judge Denny Chin wrote for a 3-0 appeals court panel.
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