Harvey Newkirk, the former Bryan Cave counsel charged in a fraud scheme to buy Maxim magazine, testified in his own defense Friday, telling jurors he was distracted during the deal because his wife and baby were in the hospital. He also indicated he had reason to believe lenders were being told the truth about the deal.
The Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office claims Newkirk took part in a scheme to fraudulently induce lenders to provide millions of dollars for the Maxim deal. Calvin Darden Jr., has pleaded guilty to the scheme in which he impersonated his father, business executive Calvin Darden Sr.
Newkirk, who began testifying Thursday, argued he was the victim of a fraud by Darden Jr.
On Friday, Newkirk said days before the Maxim deal was scheduled to close on Oct. 18, 2013, his pregnant wife was rushed to the hospital, suffering elevated blood pressure.
Their baby was born prematurely, weighing three pounds, he said. His wife remained hospitalized for 10 days while their baby was in intensive care for weeks.
Except for one day, “I was there every day, morning and evening,” he said. He and his wife had two other children at home.
He continued working on the deal, though he couldn’t use phone or electronic devices in the hospital. He said he alerted other parties and Bryan Cave to the situation.
The defense is seeking to show Newkirk had reason to believe Darden Sr. was involved in the deal. Newkirk’s lawyer, Jonathan Harris, a partner at Harris, O’Brien, St. Laurent & Chaudhry, asked him about a conversation Newkirk had with one lender, OpenGate Capital. Newkirk said the lender’s owner told him he had spoken with Darden Sr.
Newkirk is expected to continue testifying when trial resumes Tuesday afternoon.