Hedge Funders Excused From Steinberg Jury Pool

Nov 20 2013 | 1:18pm ET

A federal judge yesterday began whittling a pool of about 100 potential jurors into the panel that will decide the fate of SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Michael Steinberg.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan questioned about half of the pool yesterday, dismissing 15 potential jurors, including the CEO of a boutique investment bank, and investor-relations professional and a hedge fund employee. Also avoiding membership on the 12-person jury were a woman who said she once worked for Tiger Management founder Julian Robertson and a man who said that a friend's daughter was dating a SAC compliance officer.

Another man dismissed said bluntly of Steinberg, "I think he did it," before adding, "I think his boss should be there instead of him."

Other members of the jury pool included a former Occupy Wall Street participant and people who had faced Securities and Exchange Commission probes.

Steinberg is charged with trading technology stocks based on confidential information he received from his analyst, Jon Horvath, who is cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against his former boss. If convicted, Steinberg, the highest-ranking SAC staff member to face criminal charges, could face decades in prison.

Sullivan went through a roughly 70-part questionnaire with each potential juror, including queries on their knowledge of the case and SAC founder Steven Cohen. Five members of the pool said they had read about Steinberg's case. Another said he had read about Cohen's sale of some of his art collection last week.

One of the pool members, a tax lawyer, said he had a strong bias against the Internal Revenue Service, eliciting Sullivan to say, "that's a shocker." The individual whose friend's daughter is involved with the SAC employee said he had a strong bias against the SEC.

No members of the pool were formally empanelled yesterday. Jury selection is set to continue today.

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