Todd Newman, left, leaves Manhattan federal court with his attorneys, from left, Stephen Fishbein, Lindi Beaudreault and John Nathanson on Nov. 27, 2012.
Todd Newman, left, leaves Manhattan federal court with his attorneys, from left, Stephen Fishbein, Lindi Beaudreault and John Nathanson on Nov. 27, 2012. (AP/Louis Lanzano)

Todd Newman—the man who broke Preet Bharara’s perfect insider-trading conviction streak—admits he was likely a challenging client.

“Very much, very much,” Newman responded when asked if he considered himself “high maintenance” during the 16 months between the announcement of charges by former Southern District U.S. Attorney Bharara in United States v. Newman, 1:12-cr-00121, and his sentencing by Southern District Judge Richard Sullivan following his insider trading conviction in December 2013.

Roughly two-and-a-half years later, his conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, upending Bharara’s perfect record and setting the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Salman v. United States decision last year.

Newman, speaking May 11 on a panel of former defendants at the New York City Bar Association’s annual white-collar conference in Manhattan, said he felt like the only way to beat the charges against him was to understand “everything that went on, every last detail” of the charges against him. His lead attorneys on the case from Shearman & Sterling—Stephen Fishbein, John Nathanson and Lindi Beaudreault—managed to win him over because they seemed to share his interest in details.

After being indicted, Newman said he was confused about the nature of the charge—that he had, among other things, received insider information on Dell’s profitability—and “immediately Googled it” when he got home.

According to the allegations, Newman was tipped off about better-than-expected performance by the company during a recent quarter. His internet search quickly revealed a New York Times article that showed, he said, Dell’s gross margins during that time period were, in fact, worse than expected.

“When I meet with Steve and John and Lindi, the first thing out of their mouths … was, ‘We saw that article also—the gross margins you were charged for were incorrect,’” Newman said. “They were well prepared to say the least. None of the other ones had that.”

Newman praised his “fantastic” team as always pushing ahead and being ready for whatever the government chose to throw at them. There were, of course, issues with a client who by his own admission wanted to be “heavily involved” in his own defense. Communication was a challenge, especially early on.

“Those were the mornings I’d wake up and think, Steve’s probably going to call me and say he’s going to fire me as a client because of the conversation we had,” he said.

After the panel, Fishbein and Nathanson met Newman. Based on the smiles—and the case results—the relationships clearly had survived those early difficulties.