Criminal Price-Fixing Trial Draws Crowds

The rare criminal trial of alleged conspirators in a price-fixing cartel has packed the federal courtroom in San Francisco with a gaggle of lawyers from the antitrust and criminal defense bar.

During testimony Wednesday the gallery was filled with the likes of Joe M. Alioto, a civil antitrust hot shot and son of the former San Francisco mayor; Joseph Russoniello, former U.S. attorney and now handling white-collar defense; Buck Farmer, Martha Boersch, both former federal prosecutors and now in white-collar defense; and Tippy Mazzucco, president of San Francisco’s police commission and former prosecutor.

And there were plenty more civil antitrust lawyers there watching and waiting for how a verdict may affect their civil antitrust actions.

Drawing them to court is the case against AU Optronics America and five company executives accused of conspiring between 2001 and 2006 to fix prices on Liquid Crystal Displays used on computers, televisions and smart phones.

The government says AU Optronics, a Taiwan-based company and its American subsidiary, gained more than $500 million from its conduct.

Prosecutors say the defendants attended meetings and talked in Taiwan, Korea and the U.S. about prices for LCD screens and agreed to charge certain prices, in alleged collusive agreements that hurt retail companies in the United States.

Jurors are expected to hear testimony or nearly two months.

 Case:  US v. Lin, CR09-110SI

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