Rajaratnam Lawyers Seek To Use Traders' Taped Phone Call

Mar 24 2011 | 4:11pm ET

Lawyers for Raj Rajaratnam say they intend to play a potentially unflattering wiretap of a key government witness in the insider-trading trial, if U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell will let them.

The Galleon Group founder's legal team yesterday responded to the prosecution's bid to have that tape excluded from the trial. On the Jan. 14 tap, Adam Smith is heard asking another former Galleon trader, Ian Horowitz, why Galleon bought up shares of Starent Networks Corp. prior to the announcement of its acquisition by Cisco Systems.

"I had no idea, like zero clue, that they were going to be acquired," Horowitz responds. "I had no idea."

"Yeah, but they probably did, right?" Smith asked of Rajaratnam and other Galleon employees.

Later in the call, Horowitz told Smith, "I feel that you're… tapping me on the phone trying to get me to say some things."

Smith, who would plead guilty less than two weeks later, denied he was trying to get Horowitz to incriminate himself or anybody else.

"Mr. Rajaratnam is offering the calls to impeach the credibility of Adam Smith," Rajaratnam's lawyers wrote. "The calls demonstrate, in a way no other evidence could, Mr. Smith's desire to inculpate others in order to save himself."

Prosecutors said earlier this week that the calls were irrelevant.

"The fact that the government's efforts to develop evidence against Horowitz—in the form of an undercover recording—did not work is entirely inadmissible," the government argued.

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