Testimony ended and closing arguments began on Wednesday in the Manhattan federal court insider trading trial of Las Vegas professional gambler Billy Walters without a much-anticipated appearance from golf superstar Phil Mickelson.
Walters, 70, is charged with making millions off insider tips from Dean Foods chairman Thomas Davis and sharing them with friends like Mickelson, who made $931,000 on Dean trades in a week in 2012 and used it to help repay gambling debts to Walters.
Never charged, Mickelson did agree to give up his profits. Both sides talked about him in their opening arguments and presented evidence on his trades, but he was never called to testify during the three-week trial. Bloomberg News reported that the defense told the judge Mickelson’s lawyer had said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Brook Cuccinella said the government couldn’t prove the golfer knew Walters had inside information, but his decision to wager $2 million on Dean Foods stock on Walters’ say-so showed friends knew the gambler’s tips were gold-plated.
“Mickelson had never bought Dean Foods stock before — not once,” she said. Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled to continue on Thursday.