Settlement may be near in Countrywide case
Talks over settling at least part of the securities fraud lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against three former executives of the Countrywide Financial Corporation have intensified, two people involved with the case said Thursday. The lawsuit was to go to trial on Tuesday in federal district court in Los Angeles. But late Thursday, the judge in the case scheduled a status conference for 11 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, an unusual development for a case that was about to begin jury selection in a few days. Two people who have been involved with the case said that settlement talks between the S.E.C. and at least one of the defendants have accelerated in recent days. Friday’s hearing could affect the planned start of the trial, one person said. These people asked to be anonymous because the negotiations were continuing and were confidential.