Jenner & Block

January 22, 2014 Firm Defends Associate of 1950s-era Automaker Preston Tucker

Name Partner Floyd Thompson defended one of Preston Tucker’s associates in the headline-grabbing case that inspired Francis Ford Coppola’s Tucker: A Man and His Dream.  Floyd D. Cerf, the underwriter who handled the Tucker Corporation stock offering, stood accused along with Mr. Tucker and six other colleagues on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and violating federal securities laws. The government said the corporation engaged in a large-scale con scheme, bilking the public and prospective dealers out of $28 million without mass producing the car. The defendants argued their honest attempts at producing the “Tucker 48” were hampered by government interference possibly driven by rival automakers.  “This [case] is fantastic,” Floyd Thompson said in his closing arguments. “The prospectus plainly said Tucker stock was speculative…A couple more months, a couple more million dollars, and they would have had the production line rolling.” When the jury pronounced all the defendants “not guilty” on this day in 1950, it “loosed a tumult of cheering from more than 200 onlookers,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

CATEGORIES: 1945-1954, F Thompson, P Tucker

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