May 19, 2024

DealBook: Jury Deliberation Begins on Fate of Galleon Chief

Raj Rajaratnam, left, arrives at court with his lawyer, John Dowd.John Marshall Mantel for The New York TimesRaj Rajaratnam, left, arriving at court with his lawyer, John Dowd.

7:17 p.m. | Updated

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

The fate of Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire co-founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, lies with the teachers, nurses and public servants from Westchester County, Manhattan and the Bronx sitting on the jury, which began deliberating on Monday. Mr. Rajaratnam stands accused of making more than $50 million by trading stocks using insider tips.

After nearly four hours of deliberation, the jurors retired for the day. They will resume on Tuesday morning.

Earlier on Monday, a prosecutor finished his rebuttal to the defense’s closing statements. The prosecutor, Jonathan Streeter, began by acknowledging the jury’s waning patience with the seven-week trial and promised to be brief.

Mr. Streeter left jurors with a final plea to rely on their common sense, not on the assertions made by a defense team that had “twisted itself into knots” to distract them from seeing what was clear from the evidence.

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

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.

Judge Richard J. Holwell then charged the jurors, walking them through the 14 counts in the indictment against Mr. Rajaratnam, providing them with lengthy legal definitions for everything from reasonable doubt to conspiracy. The jurors sat at attention throughout the instructions.

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

The panel selected as its foreman a 56-year-old man from the Bronx who said he worked in graphic design at Apple. Joining him in deliberations are a retired bookkeeper and former Israeli Defense Forces volunteer, a customer service representative for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and several education and school service employees.

During their deliberations on Monday, jurors asked the judge three questions, including whether they could be excused early because one juror had an appointment that began before 5 p.m., their typical dismissal time. The other questions pertained to exhibits presented by the two sides.

The courtroom scene shifted as those in the room waited for a verdict. Anxious lawyers milled about, hanging around the courtroom in case the jury had questions. Mr. Rajaratnam, for his part, appeared relaxed, sticking close by his defense team. The gaggle of reporters covering the trial killed the time reading The New Yorker or checking fantasy baseball statistics on their smartphones.

Television trucks from the cable news networks sat in front of the courthouse, their cameramen whiling away the day underneath makeshift white tents set up on Worth Street.

Tension in the courtroom spilled into the street briefly on Monday afternoon when Mr. Rajaratnam and his defense team left the courthouse, and a shoving match erupted between a photographer and Mr. Rajaratnam’s driver.

Article source:

Speak Your Mind