April 17, 2024

DealBook: Jurors Get Rajaratnam Case

The biggest insider trading case in a generation is now in the hands of a federal jury in Manhattan.

After a brief rebuttal by the prosecution and an hour-plus of jury instructions, Raj Rajaratnam’s fate now lies with the teachers, nurses and public servants from Westchester County, Manhattan and the Bronx who serve on the jury. Mr. Rajaratnam, the billionaire co-founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, stands accused of making more than $50 million by trading stocks using insider tips.

The prosecutor, Jonathan Streeter, who offered his rebuttal to the defense’s closing statements, kept his comments short. The defense spent a great deal of time during its closing statements disparaging the government’s cooperating witnesses, even calling one the biggest liar ever to testify at a trial in the Lower Manhattan courthouse.

The Galleon networkAzam Ahmed and Guilbert Gates/The New York Times Click on the above graphic to get a visual overview of the Galleon information network.

Mr. Streeter told jurors that the government’s cooperating witnesses were corroborated by heaps of evidence – secretly recorded calls as well as phone, e-mail and trading records.

Indeed, Mr. Streeter said that while the defense accused the government of relying on compromised witnesses, they left out a critical detail related to their own star witness. Rick Schutte, the former president of the Galleon Group, received $25 million in investments from Mr. Rajaratnam and his family for his new hedge fund in the months before his testimony, a fact the prosecution brought up on cross-examination.

He told jurors the defense had tried to distract them from seeing what was abundantly clear from the evidence.

“The defense has asked you ignore logic, forget reality and suspend common sense,” Mr. Streeter said.

The judge then charged the jurors, walking them through the various counts in the indictment against Mr. Rajaratnam, defining everything from reasonable doubt to conspiracy.

As the focus of the case moved from the lawyers to the jurors, the shift could be detected among the courtroom artists. A mother and daughter pair of artists, bedecked in similar outfits of shiny black pants, metallic sweaters and red neckerchiefs, furiously sketched the scene ahead of a verdict.

Judge Richard J. Holwell, who has hardly spoken aloud during the trial, read from prepared remarks in a deep and crackling voice. The jurors sat at attention throughout the long instructions.

At exactly noon, the 12 jurors went to deliberate and four alternates were asked to remain on call in case they were needed.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/jurors-get-rajaratnam-case/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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