The real action in the second Galleon Group insider-trading trial started this morning, with prosecutors giving their opening statement in the case against former Galleon trader Zvi Goffer and two others.
The prosecution was to be followed by opening statements from an attorney for each of the three defendants, all of whom worked at hedge fund Incremental Capital, founded by Goffer after stints at Galleon and Schottenfeld Group. Also facing the conspiracy and securities fraud charges at Goffer's brother, Emanuel, and Michael Kimelman.
The three men are alleged to be members of one of two interlocking insider-trading rings, theirs headed by Goffer and the other by Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam, who was convicted last week. Goffer allegedly got much of his information from lawyers at law firm Ropes & Gray.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan completed jury selection, picking 12 panelists and three alternates from a initial pool of 100 potential jurors. Several pool members were dismissed after saying that the publicity from the Rajaratnam trial could color their judgment, but several others said the Rajaratnam verdict wouldn't prejudice them.
Rajaratnam, who plans to appeal the verdict against him, will make an appearance at the Goffer trial—or his voice, anyway. Prosecutors plan to play a tape of Rajaratnam and Goffer speaking, one of at least 60 wiretaps they plan to use.
The jury includes a retired obstetrician, an acting school administrator, a violence and abuse victim counselor and a freelance interior designer.
As always, there were moments of levity. During Sullivan's questioning of each member of the jury panel, one possible juror said she was behind a blog about ponytails.
He asked the next potential juror, a man with a shaved head, "You don't read blogs about ponytails?" Over laughter in the courtroom, Sullivan, who is balding, added, "you and me both."