Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) director Rajat Gupta asked a federal judge to exclude statements by Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam from his trial this month in Manhattan federal court, according to a filing yesterday in New York.
Gary Naftalis, Gupta’s defense lawyer, sought to bar conversations between Rajaratnam and Galleon trader Ian Horowitz on September 24, 2008, during which Rajaratnam claimed to have received a call in which an unidentified caller said “something good might happen to Goldman,” Naftalis wrote. He also sought to exclude a recording of Rajaratnam and Galleon employee David Lau in which Rajaratnam recounts a tip received from an unidentified person “on the board of Goldman Sachs” about the company’s earnings and revenues, the defense lawyer stated.
“The government’s application is an act of desperation, breathtaking in its procedural audacity, seeking to rescue a weak case by asking the court to do something that is both unprecedented and unwarranted,” Naftalis said in court filings.
Gupta is scheduled to go on trial May 21 for securities fraud and conspiracy for allegedly leaking tips to Rajaratnam. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment on yesterday’s filing.
Gupta is charged with six counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy, and faces as much as 20 years in prison on the most serious count.
Gupta’s lawyers have previously asked the judge to exclude from the trial more than 26 wiretapped telephone conversations made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Rajaratnam speaking to others.
The defense argued that a July 29, 2008, wiretapped telephone conversation between Gupta and Rajaratnam -- in which the two discuss Goldman Sachs acquiring a commercial bank -- should be excluded because the information conveyed wasn’t confidential and that the wiretap “is more prejudicial than probative.”
Gupta’s lawyers argue that the government is attempting to “reprise” the evidence it presented against Rajaratnam, “to shore up its weak circumstantial case against Mr. Gupta, resorting to evidence about other companies and other alleged conspiracies.”
Rajaratnam, who the government alleges is Gupta’s co- conspirator in the scheme, is serving an 11-year federal prison sentence.
The case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-00907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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