U.S. District Judge Michael Davis (Minn.) today rejected Minneapolis money manager Trevor Cook’s efforts to freeze an investigation by the SEC into a currency investment program he promoted while a federal grand jury pursues a parallel criminal investigation. The Star Tribune reports that Judge Davis ruled that he lacked jurisdiction to interfere with the investigation of the agency, whose powers are specifically granted by statute.
Cook’s attorney argued that if both investigations proceed simultaneously, Cook would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify in the SEC case. If forced to do that, he argued, Cook “cannot properly insert himself” into the SEC investigation and perhaps alter its course.
Melinda Hardy of the SEC argued that Cook’s motion had no legal basis, as the SEC is authorized by statute both to investigate and share what it learns with criminal investigators. She argued that even a short a delay could make it harder to elicit accurate testimony from witnesses and obtain information that might otherwise be destroyed.