A former investment manager known as Wall Street's "bad boy" may not testify at his securities fraud trial, but that didn't stop him from offering his own running commentary Friday about the case _ and himself _ outside court.
"I've waited five years to get my day in court to get the truth revealed," Ross Mandell told The Associated Press after the first week of his trial ended in federal court in Manhattan.
Mandell sounded buoyant, despite testimony this week by a former colleague-turned-cooperator who told jurors Mandell helped engineer a $140 million scheme during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
"Normally someone in my position would be suffering an anxiety attack," Mandell said with a chuckle. "I feel a wave of relief."
Mandell, 54, has used his rossmandell.com website, Facebook, YouTube and other outlets to ceaselessly promote himself as a recovering alcoholic, family man and once hard-partying, hard-charging businessman who was railroaded.
At trial, the government has portrayed the Brooklyn-born Mandell and a co-defendant as brazen conmen who took advantage of the frenzy over Internet tech stocks in using their broker-dealer operation to solicit private investments in startups.
Prosecutors say that rather than deliver the sure-thing returns promised investors, the defendants used their funds to splurge on vacations, expensive watches and home renovations. The former colleague, Robert Grabowski, has testified that they even used the money to pay for strippers and prostitutes on junkets hosted by Mandell for corrupt brokers.
The defense says Mandell has never lied to his clients and was "crushed" when his brokerage firm went under.
Mandell, who's free on $5 million bond, dismissed Grabowski's testimony on Friday as "nonsense and drivel by a programmed government witness. ... It's just disgusting."
The case is so weak, he said, it's unlikely he'll need to take the stand in his own defense.
"In a perfect world, I'd love to testify," he said. "But I'm not stupid."