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Aug. 7 2009 - 10:40 pm | 81 views | 2 recommendations | 39 comments

Goldman was thinking about suing?

A well-connected source tells us that Goldman Sachs has weighed suing journalist Matt Taibbi because of his recent criticisms of the bank, most notably his lengthy piece in Rolling Stone, “Inside The Great American Bubble Machine.”

via SOURCE: Goldman Discussed Suing Taibbi.

This is via Business Insider. Apparently Goldman has weighed suing me for… well, I’m not exactly sure what the grounds would be. Being annoying? Covering finance without a nice enough tie?

I seriously doubt they would do something like this, but if they actually have considered such a step, that says a lot about their mentality. If the bank really wanted to defuse controversy at a time when people are pissed at Wall Street they could have juggled their second-quarter profit numbers to make them look less obscene, or announced even a nominal loan forgiveness program for some of their notorious subsidiary Litton’s struggling customers, something like that. Instead… well, we’ll see if this is true. I doubt it.


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  1. collapse expand

    I don’t know what the basis would be but I think, possibly, truth is an absolute defense.

  2. collapse expand

    Great way to start the weekend, I guess.

  3. collapse expand

    Whether it’s true or isn’t true doesn’t really seem to matter. It probably isn’t true. But the important thing is that they shoved this pondering into some media artery and that’s all they wanted. “We were thinking about suing Taibbi [because what he wrote was more slander than truth] but we didn’t because [whatever sounds good]“.

  4. collapse expand

    Well, it anoys the golden (poor) fatcats very much that somebody’s saying very bad bad things about them! (they are just doing what anybody else would do if we were in their case, what-the-fuss bla bla..)

    cats seems to be doing a lot of grave diggin these days

  5. collapse expand

    Oh they would be sooooo stupid to sue you.
    a) the additional bad publicity would not serve them;
    b) the public would assume they’re using bail out money to pay their lawyers – another blow to their already tarnished image;
    c) suing an investigative journalist who reports facts and asks tough questions they refuse to answer because they’re GUILTY is too fucking lame.

    I would watch your back though, Matt. God knows what these scumbags are capable of.

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      Strategically, how does it benefit Goldman to leak this story?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Honestly, Jack, I think the purpose is to try to fuck up my weekend. If I had to guess.

        If I were in their shoes I would consider suing even if there was no possibility of winning. If you could actually get a judge to allow the case to be heard, it would send a powerful message that anyone who annoyed them in print would have to spend a ton of money defending himself. I think that was their purpose in going after goldmansachs666.com, the web site.

        The flip side is that it gives additional publicity to the story. But they might decide, in the long run, that it’s worth it.

        I can’t see a judge allowing the suit to go forward, but — you never know.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Fitting irony that as a member of Joe q public, I didn’t hear about this story until I read about G$ suing GS666.com… Which then led me to your RS article, which led to many painful but necessary enlightenments about the state of things… maybe there is a sort of cosmic justice these bastards are not going to be able to avoid. God knows I’ll contribute my pitchfork.

          I’ve read about the volume of hate mail you get Matt. I personally would like to send you a Huge “Thank You” and “Commendable Job” for your unrelenting pursuit of those unholy abominations of capitalism. You are a National Hero.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Goldman probably just wants to discourage you from further projects focusing on their exploits, especially those involving their alliance with AIG. Enough research will reveal what a hoax they’ve perpetrated with the whole credit default swap “story”.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Mr. Taibbi:

          They won’t sue, because:
          1. Unfortunately, you have not hurt their business model;
          2. If they sue, they’re open to discovery.

          Being sued is worse than a royal pain, it’s an legally sanctioned assault, readily available to people with the money to fund the process. I don’t wish it on you.

          But if they’re stupid enough to do so, make them pay. I think there would be a lot of support for you, and for your case. I really don’t think they want Paulson, or his phone records, hauled into court.

          I think their basic case comes down to: We weren’t the only ones who did what we did, and are still doing. In other words, Mr. Taibbi was correct, but why single out us?

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Another thing, Mr. Taibbi:

          If Goldman sues you, they have to demonstrate damage.

          That should be interesting.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          No worries, Matt: The LAST thing GS wants right now is to have someone else’s lawyers pawing through their records and deposing their executives, particularly if they didn’t have complete control over whether the fruits of that discovery got posted on some Web site somewhere. There is a less than zero chance that they’re going to sue you.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          “I was thinking about suing you” is the most overused threat since…. I don’t know it’s been so long since the corporate lawyer weasels took over I can’t remember what BS threats people used to use.

          I actually think corporations suing people for speaking their minds is a good thing. Despite the fact that they exercise at least, if not more, power over our lives than governments do, corporations aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information act.

          On the other hand, if one of these weasels is unwise enough to sue somebody, then they could potentially open themselves up to disocovery and all the nastiness that might reveal. They might like to leak such threats but I can assure you that their lawyers are advising them that the last thing they want to do is to go into open court and be forced to open their books to the public.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    Matt- that’s really upsetting. Talk about a way to make journalists like you think twice about the next story.

  7. collapse expand

    Matt, does your deal with RS include an obligation on their part to cover your legal expenses should you be sued? If not – I hope you’ll come calling to your fans for any help you need. My wife and I don’t have much, but we’ll gladly give what we could and help in any way we can. I’m sure the rest of your readers would do the same.

    • collapse expand

      great sentiment Mark. Totally agree. As a lawyer, I am not sure they have much to stand on in terms of a case against Matt. Especially since he explained over and over again that it was hyperbolic. How can they sue a political commentator for providing a point of view?
      I think what they can say is that judging from the outcry, Matt’s readers (including GS clients) did not understand that it was a hyperbole and did not get that GS was often a proxy to Wall Street. Instead, they treated GS as a scapegoat. The fifth grade “everyone else is doing it” is a weak defense but in terms of damaging impact, courts may consider….
      Good luck MT. Wouldn’t let it ruin your weekend.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    The ACLU would love this one…imagine Goldman in court under oath arguing how they don’t really have a computer program that can manipulate the market or that their shpere of influence within the government just coincidentally favors their interests.

  9. collapse expand

    I really doubt they were going to sue – it would attract nothing but bad publicity.

    I think this is different from the goldmansachs666 case. In that case GS was (naively) trying to protect their trademark being used by someone else – not intentionally trying to censor Mike Morgan I suspect(when they originally took action against him there hardly anything on that site IIRC – it only really took off after they brought the lawyers in).

  10. collapse expand

    You have no right to discuss Goldman Sachs because you are no incorporated andd therefore are not a true Americfan citizen.

  11. collapse expand

    I strongly feel that you are doing the country a great service. There is nothing more honorable than fighting the good fight. They will not know what hit them if they pursue this further. This is big “balance of power” stuff. I may be overstating this, but my instinct and experience tells me this is important. Their brand is tarnished big time. You are the fly in their ointment. I’ve got to think you got a lot of quiet allies of all political persuasions in positions of power. There is strength in numbers, I am sure you have a network of supporters. We need to get Max Keiser exposed more. Love to see him on CNBC. He would tear them up. I wonder if they will go after him next.

  12. collapse expand

    Interesting. So, they want to be a public company, sell stock to outsiders, send their executives into the highest offices of our Republic, but then want to be immune to public criticism that appeared in a rock and roll magazine.

    I think there was a time when bank CEOs would laugh at an investigative piece coming out from a magazine that doesn’t even cover business and politics as its primary purview. But here they are threatening to sue? That doesn’t bespeak a particularly strong position.

    Besides, would they really want your defense attorney with the right to do document discovery in their offices?

    I hope you have a nice weekend.

  13. collapse expand

    Wow, MT, you have a remarkable talent for angering the wrong people. I doubt GS will sue, but I wouldn’t put some type of retribution past them for pissing in their punch.

  14. collapse expand

    Actually Matt, Goldman will never do this. This is a threat meant to intimidate you and Rolling Stone. Because if Goldman DID do this – they’d have to go to discovery. And just imagine the interesting things that would come out of that…

    • collapse expand

      gsmart’s got it exactly right. If GS sued for defamation, truth would be an absolute defense. Matt would get to engage in discovery to find evidence that what he wrote was indeed true. GS would have to turn over not just whatever was in its files, but also any electronically stored data, including metadata, that it has preserved. Beyond being pretty expensive, such discovery is remarkably intrusive. I can’t imagine that GS would want to open itself up to such intrusion into its affairs.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  15. collapse expand

    I’m sure Henry Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein are on the phone again right now trying to plan how they can sue you and talk about the good ole days when they were taking the taxpayers for a ride and using AIG. I am really disappointed Obama has not stepped up to force the Treasury Dept. to reign them in. I’m sure you could raise a huge legal fund if they are serious because everyone not on the take is disgusted with Goldman.

  16. collapse expand

    Suing you for libel would have been the dumbest thing that Goldman could do.

    Truth is an absolute defense to libel. Thanks to liberal discovery rules, you and your lawyers would have access to Goldman reps to cross exam, under oath as well as internal Goldman documents. What a beautiful thing that would be.

  17. collapse expand

    its like Heidi is trying to make friends with you now. this from her twitter: “Achtung Taibbi! THIS is how you get Goldman: Paulson’s calendar showed he was in constant contact w/ $GS http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/business/09paulson.html?_r=1

    • collapse expand

      That’s very interesting. I think eventually someone is going to launch an investigation of that AIG bailout period and it is going to get ugly.

      Masha, are you someone I know, by the way?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        They should start with an investigation of AIG Program Funding and their 6-22-2007 SEC registration offering $22 Billion in “debt securities, warrants, purchase contracts, junior subordinated debentures, preferred stock, either separately or represented by depositary shares, and common stock, either individually or in units”, to be used for general corporate purposes by AIG and/or any of its subsidiaries.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Per the Pricing Supplement dated 12-7-2007:

        “We are offering notes on a continuing basis through AIG Financial Securities Corp., ABN AMRO Incorporated, ANZ Securities, Inc.,Banca IMI S.p.A., Banc of America Securities LLC, Barclays Capital Inc., Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., BMO Capital Markets Corp., BNP Paribas Securities Corp., BNY Capital Markets, Inc., Calyon Securities (USA) Inc., CIBC World Markets Corp., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Daiwa Securities America Inc., Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe Limited, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Lehman Brothers Inc., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International plc, Mizuho International plc, Mizuho Securities USA Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated, National Australia Capital Markets, LLC, RBC Capital Markets Corporation, Santander Investment Securities Inc., Scotia Capital (USA) Inc., SG Americas Securities, LLC, TD Securities (USA) LLC, UBS Securities LLC, and Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC, as agents, each of which has agreed to use its best efforts to solicit offers to purchase notes. We may also accept offers to purchase notes through other agents. See “Plan of Distribution” in the accompanying prospectus supplement”.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        “Concurrently with the pricing of the offering of the Notes, we intend to enter into a swap transaction with an affiliate of the underwriter, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”), to hedge completely our market risk under the Notes.

        Assuming there are no changes in the level of the Index and no changes in market conditions or any other relevant factors, the price, if any, at which MLPF&S or another purchaser might be willing to purchase your Notes in a secondary market transaction is expected to be lower, and could be substantially lower, than the original public offering price of the Notes.

        For more information, see “Risk Factors” in the accompanying product supplement ARN-PF”.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Ok, now you really have to get back to healthcare deadline. That is where the next Ellie is going to come from, I know it.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  18. collapse expand

    If you were going to be sued, you would have been served by now. Favorite Lawyer trick. Hit em on Friday with a 20 day response time. No one around to talk to . Get worried. They love it.

    I suspect if they were planning on it they would have sent a cease and desist letter along with demands for retractions. Then they would have hit you. You lit the fuse, you can only guess what’s happening now. Relax, enjoy the week-end. They are far more worried than you are right now.

    This is coming from someone who got hit on a Friday afternoon and found it was nothing more than a bluff. It was registered mail. No sheriffs? No worries. I got bent out of shape for nothing.

    • collapse expand

      Forgot , Just remember, if they were to sue you , which I am 99.999% (there is that 1/1000th percent chance of the idiot factor)certain they won’t, that gives your attorneys a chance to subpoena every paper and communication as far back as he or she wants and put 200-300 of their people under oath during written or oral depositions. They know someone always cracks.

      Your articles were too broad in scope. They have to many skeletons on those hard drives. That’s like giving a good journalist free license to rummage in their computers.

      You should welcome it if they are dumb enough to do it. Taunt them. lol

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  19. collapse expand

    I’d also like to see someone look into the “Project Knight” alliance between Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Wachovia Bank, Merrill Lynch, and the Knight Acquisition Corp,

    “formed at the direction of American International Group, Inc. and its affiliates”:

    Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Riverstone Holdings LLC, and The Carlyle Group; all of whom came together to form an entity that acquired all of the stock of Managing General Partner for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (formerly Enron Liquids Pipeline L.P.).
    AIG’s investment in the venture was guaranteed by their subsidiary: AIG-FP, which issued a guarantee letter pledging an investment of $1,263,504,879.

    $1.3 Billion they came up with.

    It seems to me taxpayers are forking over their good money to Goldman and AIG, in exchange for worthless paper promises; while meantime, Goldman, AIG, and their associates are locking up private interest in a valuable global commodity.

    I could be wrong in my interpretation of the facts, but these are the facts: quoted directly from the SEC filings.

    Personally, it looks to me that we got screwed.

  20. collapse expand

    >>Goldman has weighed suing me

    For your weight in Goldman Sacks?

    Your fat rendered down post apocalyptic barter futures in the food and/or energy commodity trades?

    Name recognition capture copyrights.

    Or just the same old make an example…. see uppity

  21. collapse expand

    The more I hear about Goldman Sachs, the more unpleasant they sound. Maybe you’re just not polite enough, Matt.

    You should revere them as the Lords of Time

    Or detail their charitable behaviors

  22. collapse expand

    goldman already irked and suing the proprietor of http://www.goldmansachs666.com/ .. and off course they have no case since the site merely discusses facts and events behind goldman’s doing..

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    I'm a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, a sports columnist for Men's Journal, and I also write books for a Random House imprint called Spiegel and Grau.

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