GOVERNMENT: End of a Marathon

"I come to this case," said Federal Judge Harold R. Medina 34 months ago, "without any knowledge of the investment banking business, but I intend to get my teeth into this matter." The court was soon wondering whether there was anything to chew on at all. For nearly three years, Medina fidgeted with ill-concealed impatience while Justice Department lawyers tried to prove that 17 big investment banks had conspired to monopolize the securities business through the syndicate system of negotiated bidding.

To try to prove their charge, the Government lawyers probed practices in the banking business dating back to the...

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