During today’s questioning of potential jurors to serve on the Rajaratnam jury, a number of jurors were asked to leave because of various conflicts of interest.Here are some of the reasons people were dismissed:
Feeling biased towards very wealthy people – Holwell told the jury, “We all know people on Wall Street make a lot of money. The defendant is a very wealthy individual” and “we’ll hear a lot of evidence with a lot of dollar signs attached to it.” Would this be an issue for anyone, he wanted to know.
Dismissed: two jurors, #1 (Monroe) and #34.
Sidenote: A man in a black long sleeve shirt with glasses and a bald spot walked through the camera shot (we were watching on a TV screen in a separate room from the courtroom). One of those dismissed might’ve been him.
Knowing anyone who lives at any of the locations that will be mentioned throughout the course of the trial (135 East 57th, 590 Madison, 60 Sutton Place) or having any connection to the locations –
Having any prejudices about who caused the financial crisis – Holwell made it clear that the Raj case has nothing to do with the financial crisis and nothing to do with “the recession we’re currently in,” but if anyone felt that knowing that Raj is a hedge fund manager would affect their judgment, he wanted them to speak up.
Knowing anyone who might be called to testify or mentioned – Holwell read a list of around 75 potential witnesses. One woman stepped forward because she knew a man named “O’Connor” who Holwell mentioned. She wanted to double check his middle initial. Holwell didn’t know his middle initial, asked her, “Do you know where the gentleman works? Or how well do you know him?”
She answered: “Oh, he’s just my ex-husband.”
Laughter. It must not happen much here, because the security guard next to me says excitedly, “There’s humour.”
Holwell: Ok, we’ll ascertain whether or not you know him.
Knowing or having any relationship with someone who works for any of the companies that will be mentioned in the context of Raj’s allegedly insider trading them – One woman says she knows the company “Stockrich,” (a penny stock adviser) which is funny, because Holwell didn’t mention Stockrich.
Dismissed: three jurors, #13, #20, and #35.
Owning stock in any of the companies mentioned above – Dismissed: one juror, last name “Pine” #6.
Knowing anyone at any of the law firms that will be mentioned or having an affiliation with them – #39 steps forward and says her husband is a partner at Sherman & Howard/Swendseid & Stern.
Dismissed: One juror, #39.
Owning stocks or bonds – Nine (of 40) jurors said they own some stock or bond. Will it colour their opinion, Holwell asks. They all say no.
Knowing anyone who works in the financial industry – The jurors are all New Yorkers, so of course some of them would have friends who work on Wall Street. One, a teller at Citibank, was asked to speak to Judge Holwell on the side. Number 7’s daughter-in-law works for HSBC as an assistant manager. Another knows someone who works in what she calls the “finance department” at Bank of America. She doesn’t know what she does.
Another woman says she knows someone who owns a hedge fund. It turns out it’s David Tepper.
Knowing Raj or Galleon – Were the jurors familiar with either? Holwell asked for those who’d been reading the news to step forward and explain what they read and what they thought about it.
Dismissed: One juror, #10 Aida Melo.
Knowing Preet or anyone on the government prosecution side –
Medication – Holwell asked anyone taking any medication that might prevent them from fairly judging the case to step forward and explain what they were on.
Dismissed: two jurors
The jurors are still being screened (they’ve gotten through only about 11 of 52 questions), so stay tuned for more.
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