Below are my top 10 reasons why I think Raj will be found innocent, based upon the day’s testimony and proceedings. Things could change, or course, as the government brings out the big guns, including Goldman Sach’s Chairman Lloyd Blankfein, perhaps as early as today. I hope to make this an ongoing series.
As both a stock trader and an attorney, I have taken a keen interest in the ongoing Raj Rajaratnam/Galleon insider trading trial going on in U.S. District Court before the Honorable Richard J. Holwell. Today was the first day that I was able to watch the proceedings live, as trading was slow, and I had made some decent money during the morning trade. So I hopped the train from White Plains to NYC, and met a lawyer friend at 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 17b. What unfolded before my eyes was absolutely amazing.
First of all, seeing Raj himself there in the flesh, just a few feet in front of me, was somewhat surreal. While he looks just like he does on television, he did not seem at all like the “mean bastard” that he claims he is. He was really cute, and reminded me of a Sri Lankan teddy bear. Far scarier was his high- priced gruffly attorney, John Dowd, a former military lawyer described by many as “a mean SOB” (he sure looked the part).
I must say, however, that I cannot actually be sure that it was Dowd, since he didn’t move or say a word the whole time I was there, letting his high-priced Akin Gump underlings make all the necessary evidentiary objections (nice work if you can get it at $1000/hr). Could have have been just a wax figure?
The jury of Raj’s peers didn’t look like it to me. I strongly doubt that Raj would have a beer with any of these people. In fact, while I feel awful about this, I nearly burst out laughing when the jury walked in to the courtroom. While I appreciate and respect the United States judicial system, warts and all, this group of ladies and gentlemen all seemed bewildered, and had this “please get me out of here” look on their faces. And while Raj wore a very expensive suit (was that Brioni?), they weren’t what one might call a dapper group.
My initial impression was that there is no chance whatsoever that this case is going to be decided on the facts, or on any real sophisticated understanding of the intricacies of insider trading laws, mosaic theory or the like. More than two weeks into the trial, I got the strong sense that very few if any of those 18 jurors (12 plus alternates), if pressed, could write even a one paragraph description of what the proceedings they were watching were about. This trial is pure theatre. As Dick Vitale says “it’s showtime baby, and it is absolutely awesome”! Without further ado, ladies and gentleman, let’s get to the top 10 list:
10. In his testimony, Rajiv Goel, Raj’s Wharton School buddy and former Intel executive turned government informant, called Raj his “close friend” at least 18 times, yet claimed that Raj gave him only $100,000 for a house in Silicon Valley , $500,000 for his Swiss bank account, and a measly $800.000 in trading profits (by the way, how do I sign up for the let Raj make your Schwab trades option online?). I don’t know about you, but my close billionaire friends are much more generous than that. Conclusion? He must be lying.
9. Mr. Goel testified that his cell phone number is 650-492-0885. I tried that number several times tonight when I got home, and was unable to reach him. Perhaps he meant 867-5309??? Jenny?
8. I sat near the court room artists (why do they get the front row seats?), and the woman closest to lead prosecutor Reed Brodsky (now that’s a name made for movies) portrayed hs white shirt as having French cuffs. No possible way that she saw those. Clearly, something is amiss.
7. Midway through the afternoon testimony, Mr. Goel’s microphone mysteriously went ballistic, causing a delay in the proceedings. Mr. Goel then politely asked Mr. Brodsky to repeat the last question, and at that precise instant I am pretty certain that I saw a second shooter in the grassy knoll.
6. While only 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, I personally saw 4 out 0f 14 court reporters scribbling notes with their left hands. Can there be any more proof that the left-wing news media are already figuring out a way to spin this case Raj’s way?
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