Rajaratnam Wants Trial Delayed

May 20 2010 | 11:09am ET

Lawyers for Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam are seeking to delay his criminal trial, arguing that the charges against him are not specific enough to allow them to prepare a defense.

Rajaratnam and his co-defendant, former New Castle Partners executive Danielle Chiese, are set to face trial on insider-trading charges beginning on Oct. 25. But that is too soon, according to lawyer John Dowd, since he still lacks details about the 12 stocks Rajaratnam is alleged to have traded illegally.

“In order to prepare his defense to this factual issue, Mr. Rajaratnam must therefore be given notice of what the alleged inside information actually was and when it was communicated; it is not sufficient to inform him that the government believes it to be material and non-public,” Dowd wrote in a brief filed in New York federal court. “Defense counsel are entitled to know who allegedly tipped Mr. Rajaratnam so that they can investigate these allegations further before trial, but the general haphazardness of the government’s allegations, and it’s failure to provide this basic information, continues to prevent counsel from doing so.”

Dowd did not suggest a new trial date.

Should U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell agree to delay the criminal trial, it could also affect the civil trial against Rajaratnam. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff—reluctantly—delayed that trial, originally set to begin in August, until February. It is unclear if he would be willing to do so again.

One thing Rakoff is not willing to do is give Rajaratnam’s lawyers carte blanche to look into one of the government’s star witness’s private life. The Galleon founder’s counsel had sought complete computer hard-drive images, financial records, appointment calendars and other materials related to Roomy Khan, the former Galleon and Intel employee who says she passed confidential tips on to Rajaratnam.

Rakoff brushed aside those requests, calling them “little more than an impermissible fishing request” and “overbroad and speculative.” He noted that Rajaratnam’s lawyers had declined to “assist in the formulation of the search keywords” used to look through Khan’s five computers.

“Under these circumstances, the court will not require the production of the full images, which will likely contain a great deal of both personal and irrelevant data, to the detriment of defendant Khan’s privacy,” Rakoff wrote.

A spokesman for Rajaratnam said the defense team will try again to get that information.

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