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The Associated Press May 18, 2011, 6:14PM ET

NY trial starts for man fired by Raj Rajaratnam

A lawyer at the second New York insider trading trial to result from a massive wiretap investigation of hedge funds has introduced himself to jurors by saying his client was fired by a one-time billionaire hedge fund founder convicted of insider trading charges last week.

The lawyer, William Barzee, told jurors Wednesday that Zvi Goffer (Zvee GAH-fur) was fired by Raj Rajaratnam (rahj rah-juh-RUHT'-nuhm) because he lost nearly a million dollars through bad trades. Barzee said his client was not guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud charges. He said Goffer would not have lost money if he was privy to inside information.

A prosecutor had claimed that Goffer and two others used tips from lawyers who knew secrets about mergers and acquisitions to make illegal profits.

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