- Associated Press - Sunday, August 7, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - To the outside world, investment banker Sean Stewart seemed to have hit the lottery, earning nearly $1 million annually and about to be married to a successful lawyer from a wealthy family.

But his testimony at his federal insider trading trial that resumes Monday reveals that Stewart’s life eight years after his graduation from Yale was about to unravel fast, speeded along by his willingness to mention the secrets he was supposed to keep as a vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co. to his fiancé and parents.

“My life sucks and I am worthless,” he told his parents in an email in November 2012, a year and a half after he had gotten married.

Questioned by his lawyer, Stewart has admitted that he spoke about confidential information about public company mergers and acquisitions that his father and a broker used to earn $1.1 million illegally, some of it on deals he worked on after going to work at Perella Weinberg Partners LP. Prosecutors will soon begin cross examination.

Stewart’s father, Robert, has pleaded guilty in the case and has been sentenced to a year of home confinement.



The son has insisted he never thought his father would trade stocks in companies he mentioned and never knew about it afterward. He also has said he never discussed how much money was involved in deals or when transactions would close, though he said he complained to his father that the timing of one deal conflicted with his wedding date.

Martin Cohen, one of Sean Stewart’s lawyers, told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Thursday that dozens of emails between the son and his parents demonstrate that heavy communication was common rather than evidence of insider trading.

Jurors are learning that Sean Stewart’s parents sometimes had a strained relationship with his wife.

He got choked up when he read aloud an email in which his parents urged him to seek marriage counseling. The couple, which had one child, is now divorced.

The outcome of the case may hinge in part on the jury’s analysis of how Sean Stewart handled his father after learning his father had traded illegally on an acquisition he learned about from his son in 2011.

Sean Stewart said he met his father.

“He was a bit embarrassed. He was nervous,” the son recalled. “I told him to never do that again and he promised that he would not.”

Yet, prosecutors say, it happened four more times.

The father told his son he learned about the pending deal from a news article.

“Did you believe him?” Cohen asked.

“I wanted to, but no, I did not believe him,” Sean Stewart said. “I was confused, ashamed, taken aback. I wanted to know why he would do something so foolish, so stupid.”

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