Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Tim Leissner is getting “harassing” questions about his love life by a defence lawyer for his alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Roger Ng, the prosecution complained.
Leissner, who pleaded guilty in 2018, is the government’s star witness in the case against his former Goldman subordinate Ng. Marc Agnifilo, Ng’s lawyer, began his cross-examination of Leissner on Tuesday (March 1) afternoon and aggressively questioned him about lies he’d told in the past, including to his former wives and mistresses.
Prosecutor Drew Rolle on Wednesday (March 2) told the judge in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that it was too much.
“He has not denied having affairs and he will not deny having affairs, but the defence should be precluded from asking questions that go into the sordid details of his affairs,” Rolle said to US District Judge Margo Brodie before the jury arrived.
“He is harassing the witness,” Rolle said of Agnifilo.
Ng is the only Goldman banker to go on trial in the 1MDB scandal. According to prosecutors, he and Leissner helped Malaysian financier Jho Low siphon off billions of dollars from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund in exchange for kickbacks. Low, who was also indicted, remains a fugitive.
Agnifilo said Wednesday that questioning Leissner about his love life was fair game because it went to Leissner’s credibility.
He noted the former banker acknowledged he’d bought a luxury sports car and multiple houses, including a US$10 million (RM41.9 million) London home, for a former mistress who was at the time the chief executive officer of Astro Malaysia Holdings, a Goldman client.
Leissner has said she blackmailed him into the purchase.
“It’s not so much he was having an affair but everything he does is all a lie,” Agnifilo said.
“He lies to both people at the same time and he lies to get what he wants. So far, he’s minimised the lying. All we’ve done is bring out the lies. This is not about lying, this is about credibility.”
During Leissner’s first day of questioning by Agnifilo on Tuesday, the former banker admitted being married at least three times and acknowledged divorcing one wife without telling her.
Leissner also testified he twice forged divorce decrees to get married. He wed former model Kimora Lee Simmons while he was still married to his second wife.