Having failed in their efforts to keep the more damning wiretaps out of their client's trial, Raj Rajaratnam's lawyers want the more prosaic tossed.
Rajaratnam's chief attorney, John Dowd, yesterday filed a motion to exclude those intercepted conversations that he says don't show criminal wrongdoing. There are some 18,000 wiretaps at the heart of the government's insider-trading case against the Galleon Group founder.
"There are a fair number of intercepted conversations in this case that involve simply talking about how companies are doing," Dowd wrote in yesterday's filing with U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell. "Just as baseball players talk about baseball, stock professionals talk about stocks."
(Dowd is best-known as the author of the report on baseball great Pete Rose's gambling, which got Rose thrown out of baseball and has kept the sport's all-time hits leader from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame.)
Holwell ruled that the wiretaps were admissible in November, dealing Rajaratnam's defense team a serious blow. In court filings in the Securities and Exchange Commission civil case against Rajaratnam, his lawyers say only 240 of the taped conversations are relevant.
Rajaratnam's trial is set to begin at the end of next month. His is one of the few outstanding criminal cases stemming from the Galleon investigation; last week, his former co-defendant, Danielle Chiesi, struck a plea deal, and just yesterday, two former Galleon employees did the same, with one implicating Rajaratnam during his plea.
All told, more than 30 people have been charged in the case.
If convicted, Rajaratnam faces decades in prison.