One Way Goldman Sachs Is Like Bear Stearns

98502547 1 One Way Goldman Sachs Is Like Bear StearnsBusiness Insider read the unedited version of Goldman trader Fabrice Tourre’s infamous emails, and–surprise–they’re not quite as damning as the one-line excerpts.

This could be a problem for the S.E.C.

In 2008, federal prosecutors in New York’s Eastern District built a case against two Bear Stearns traders that looked pretty good in the press. “I’m fearful of these markets,” wrote one of them in an email. “Believe it or not – I’ve been able to convince people to add more money,” said another, adding a line about how they should close the funds.

Perhaps it seemed like an easy win, what with the hostile public mood toward Wall Street and especially toward risky bettors like Bear Stearns. But when the case finally went to trial, and defense attorneys had the chance to put the lines in context, the two traders were acquitted, in what amounted to a black eye for federal prosecutors.

An earlier prosecution of former Credit Suisse executive Frank Quattrone also faltered despite some emails that seemed damning.

So, for now, it might be worth withholding judgment on “fabulous Fab”–which, as it turns out, isn’t a self-aggrandizing nickname he gave himself, but rather a humorous nickname someone else gave him, that he happened to recount in a mushy email to his girlfriend.