The Marshall Project

For Want of a Nail

How one false statement brought down a Wall Street company.

Here is a story of a criminal case, a white-collar investigation on Wall Street by high-profile federal prosecutors, where no one seems to dispute that government officials misled a court when asking for a search warrant. But the suspect, who says his business was forced to close as a result of that warrant, got no relief from the federal courts even though he ultimately was not charged with any crime. The lasting effect of David Ganek’s tangle with the courts is an invitation to cops and prosecutors: you can omit important information from warrants without fear of jeopardizing your cases.

As the case wended its way through the courts over the past few years, the feds responsible for the error don’t appear to have undertaken any meaningful investigation to find out why a dubious affidavit was submitted to a federal magistrate in the first place. At the heart of the controversy is Preet Bharara, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, whose reign as the top federal prosecutor in New York was abruptly ended last year by President Trump.

David Ganek grew up in the world of high finance and after college went to work with Steven Cohen, whose

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