Rajaratnam Wants Wiretaps Kept Private

Apr 1 2010 | 9:36am ET

Having fought successfully—so far—to keep the wiretaps at the heart of the case against their client out of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s hands, lawyers for Raj Rajaratnam are now asking that they be kept out of the public eye.

John Dowd, who represents the Galleon Group founder, accused of leading a $50 million insider-trading ring, said that a prosecution plan to allow court applications and orders regarding the wiretaps—there are about 18,000 of them—to be added to the public record should be rejected. Even though the government suggested allowing both sides to review the recordings and releasing only redacted versions, Dowd said the public has no right to the access.

Dowd cited The New York Times’ failed effort to obtain wiretap records related to the prostitution ring case that forced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer from office two years ago.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals “has twice held that ‘good cause’ to unseal wiretap applications and orders can be shown—and can only be shown—by an ‘aggrieved person,’” and not the public, he wrote.

Rajaratnam and his co-defendant, Danielle Chiesi, are challenging the legality of the wiretaps. They have also won a temporary stay of a judge’s order that they turn over the taps to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is conducting a parallel civil case against them.

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