NEW YORK (AP) — A judge says expert witnesses for Bank of America Corp. cannot use media reports to boost claims that shareholders knew big bonus payments were looming when it bought Merrill Lynch & Co.
Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff said Monday that Bank of America had warned in a proxy statement soliciting approval of the 2008 purchase that shareholders should disregard media reports.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought a civil case over billions in bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch. The main charge states the bank falsely implied Merrill was banned from paying year-end bonuses without the bank’s approval.
A trial is scheduled for March.
Last year, Rakoff threw out the bank’s $33 million settlement.
Bank of America did not immediately return a call for comment.