Rajaratnam’s Lawyer Blasts Prosecutors Over Trial Timing, Wiretaps

Dec 23 2009 | 12:00pm ET

Just a day after his client pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud, Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam’s lawyer continued to plead for a later trial date.

With the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil insider-trading case against Rajaratnam and co-defendant Danielle Chiesi, a former executive with hedge fund New Castle Partners, set to go to trial in August, U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell has warned that the criminal case against the two could be put on an expedited schedule. The government has asked that the trial begin as soon as June, but John Dowd will have none of it.

“Having enjoyed the publicity of commencing its civil case prior to indicting its criminal case, the government should address their problems… rather than attempt to manufacture the order of its trials solely in a manner that suits its strategic interests,” Dowd wrote to Holwell.

“The government’s own strategic charging deacons, criminal and civil, should not be permitted to compromise the defendant’s ability to defend themselves fully against its allegations.”

Dowd, who is perhaps best known for producing the report on baseball legend Pete Rose’s gambling that got the Hit King banned from the sport, also slammed the government for failing to produce about 100 hours of wiretaps that are at the center of the government’s case. Prosecutors say they’ll turn over that material within a week.

“The defendants, without the benefit of discovery, including but not limited to the wiretap intercepts, are not in a position to assess whether a trial date as proposed by the government is realistic,” Dowd wrote.

Dowd and Chiesi’s lawyer, Alan Kaufman, also complained about the proposed scheduling at their plea hearing on Monday. Kaufman called the government’s proposed schedule “wildly ambitious.” Holwell told the lawyers he’d speak to the judge presiding over the SEC case, but warned that the criminal trial “may wind up on an expedited schedule.”

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