The attorneys prosecuting Raj Rajaratnam for insider trading are freaking out right now.Conversely, for a man who might go to jail soon, Raj appears calm. At 9:30 AM every morning, he sits in a nearby courtroom while the jury deliberates over the 14 counts against him (5 counts of conspiring and 9 counts of securities fraud). Sometimes, he reads the newspaper.
After a seven-week long trial, the alleged insider trader and billionaire, who is the most prominent investor to face trial in at least the last 15 years, is awaiting the jury’s decision. Still.
The jurors have to decide whether Raj is guilty or not on 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. To win each one, Raj only needs one juror on his side. The twelve women and men have had 5 days now (2 of them shorter than 7 hours), enough time to spend around two and a half hours deliberating on each count. That’s a lot of time. It might mean that one of them is on Raj’s side.
So far, the jury has given few hints about their decision. They requested the prosecution’s nifty powerpoint presentation, evidence from the Clearwire charge that, it turns out, was already in their evidence binders (There’s a LOT of evidence – we don’t blame them for having trouble finding it.), and a number of recorded conversations.
The interesting thing is, the jury is requesting all of the defence’s best evidence. The prosecution is visibly worried about it.
In his closing argument, prosecuting attorney Jonathan Streeter (far left in the photo above) made it clear that he thought it would be an open and shut case.
“You know better than to accept [the defence’s] twisted, completely implausible evidence,” he said.
Streeter’s partner, Adam Brodsky (far right in the photo above), echoed.
“But how did Raj respond [on the call when he got insider information]?” Brodsky asked, mocking the defence’s argument that Raj simply did his homework. “Did he go, ‘Oh, man I already knew that! That’s public information!'”
“No. He said, ‘What are they gonna do?'”
But if this were an open and shut case, as the prosecution obviously hoped it would be, the jury would be decided by now.
Instead, the deliberations head into next week. The prosecution’s worry is deserved. The evidence they presented the jury with is incredibly strong and incriminating. But with every passing day, it’s more likely that they will lose their case and that Raj will go free.