After the regular Friday hiatus, the Raj Rajaratnam trial picked up again today and talk turned to what is and isn’t admissible as evidence in the trial.At the centre of the sparring — Danielle Chiesi, the former hedge fund consultant who has already pleaded guilty to insider trading and says she passed along tips to the Galleon head about Akamai and other companies.
“Before a relatively small audience in the United States District Court in Manhattan,” Dealbook reported, prosecutors and the defence bickered over government wiretaps of Chiesi speaking with a former Akamai executive called Kieran Taylor.
Prosecutors say the recordings are crucial to their case and show that an illegal tip originating with Taylor about Akamai’s July 2008 earnings ended up in Raj’s hands; the defence argues that because the recordings contain “expletives and salty language“, jurors will be prejudiced against their client.
Raj’s lead attorney John Dowd described the tapes as “completely and utterly irrelevant” — he said “they don’t pertain to the one tip about Akamai that his client allegedly received.”
Eventually, Judge Holwell came down in favour of the government, saying certain sections of the tapes could be played. He concluded that “an inference of a quid pro quo-type relationship” was definitely evident in the recordings and the jury should hear that, according to the WSJ.
In one of the recordings, Taylor tells Chiesi he had “a present” of information for her. Government prosecutor Jonathan Streeter says that demonstrates that Taylor was passing along insider information. In exchange for that tip, Chiesi passed along information about “another company, along with career advice and other favours.”
As for whether or not Chiesi and Taylor were having an affair, as has previously been suggested in the case of Chiesi and AMD executive Hector Ruiz, Dealbook reported,
At one point, Judge Holwell asked whether the government’s position was whether there was a physical relationship between Ms. Chiesi and Mr. Taylor, as there was between Ms. Chiesi and another defendant. Jonathan Streeter, an assistant United States attorney, demurred.