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What Do You Get When You Cross Judy Miller With Enron?

…A First Amendment scandal set on Wall Street and seemingly directed by David Lynch. Just thinking about all of the issues at play in the still-emergingHerb Greenberg SEC subpoenas/“naked shorting”/”Overstock.com/“Sith Lord” scandal makes my head hurt, but the implications are scary indeed for business reporters. If the SEC had succeeded in forcing Greenberg and one of his colleagues to turn over their notes on unpublished stories, then Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne would have successfully used his paranoia over “naked shorting” and the supposed conspiracy against his company to force the SEC to shakedown reporters in much the same way that evil investors have somehow used Greenberg, et. al as their stalking horse against him. (Like I said, it’s enough to make your head hurt.)

Joe Nocera of The New York Times offered a lucid explanation on Saturday, but as that’s now behind the Times Select wall, I’ll point you to former Businessweek writer Gary Weiss instead.

As for just who-the-hell and what-the-hell Patrick Byrne and his Sith conspiracy are, check out Mark Cuban’s brief introduction to the subject here. It began last summer with a quarterly conference call…

Never before in the history of Wall Street has a single conference call mentioned the following topics: Miscreants, an unnamed Sith Lord he hopes the feds will bury under a prison, gay bath houses, whether he is gay, does cocaine, both or neither, and an obligatory, not that there is anything wrong with that, phone taps, phone lines misdirected to Mexico, arrested reporters, payoffs, conspiracies, crooks, egomaniacs, fools, paranoia, which newspapers are shills and for who, payoffs, money laundering, his Irish temper, false identities, threats, intimidation, and private investigators. All in 61 minutes.

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