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CNBC's Schacknow: Legal Maneuvers; the Greenspan Gap

Thursday, 24 May 2007 | 5:54 PM ET

Losing Count
We pride ourselves in being able to pick out the news when presented with “raw data” -- be it a live speech, event, interview, or enterprise story. I do have to admit, however, there is one form of “raw” news that I find a bit intimidating: the legal document.

We get many court decisions that are of interest to the business audience -- and, thanks to some diligent work by our producers and assignment editors, we’re able to get copies of decisions at the earliest possible moment. Since this occurs before such stories hit the wires, we’re often left to interpret them on our own.

Today, we got the decision from the Federal Appeals Court on the appeals filed by Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas and son Timothy, who’d been convicted of 23 counts of fraud and conspiracy in connection with Adelphia’s bankruptcy.

The Rigas decision came to us in “raw” form: in a 55-page document. Luckily, with the assistance of white-collar crime savant and assignment editor Jim Forkin, we were able to discern the heart of the matter: 22 of the 23 counts were upheld on appeal. Not as easy as getting a pre-digested story, but very nice to get it on the air much sooner.

Delayed Reaction
We’re still abuzz today over the market’s Wednesday tanking at the hands of former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan.

Our show producers often ask me why the markets made a sudden move, but yesterday’s drop from early gains was downright baffling at first.

Why? Our NYSE reporter Bob Pisani had reported at 1:00 p.m. ET that Greenspan had said that a significant downturn in the Chinese market was possible. At that point, the major averages had chalked up substantial gains -- which held up through just over an hour later, when they suddenly went negative.

Several calls to trading desks confirmed that Greenspan’s comments were the reason. Few could explain why there was such a significant delay between the initial reports and the eventual impact.

But one thing is certain: the former Fed chairman still has influence. Which means we’ll be much quicker to blame him for market moves in the future.