No Cohen Questions For Steinberg Analyst

Dec 12 2013 | 12:01pm ET

Given the chance to question their star witness about SAC Capital Advisors founder Steven Cohen, prosecutors in the insider-trading case against SAC portfolio manager Michael Steinberg demurred.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan ruled yesterday that prosecutors could ask Jon Horvath, who served as Steinberg's analyst, about his cooperation in the probe of Cohen, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. The government apparently hoped to use the questions to show that Horvath had fingered only guilty parties, and had not implicated Cohen himself.

Sullivan said he didn't see why the jury shouldn't hear about "the biggest whale in the company." But he warned that while the questions were permitted, they might not be "prudential."

The prosecutors did not say why they opted against the Cohen line of questioning. Sullivan had warned that Horvath, who completed his ninth and final day of testimony yesterday, would be subjected to extensive cross-examination on the matter, although prosecutors said they didn't think Steinberg's lawyer, Barry Berke, would drag it out.

Horvath was asked if he knew that he was providing information about the government's probe into SAC itself, and said yes. SAC last month pleaded guilty to insider-trading charges.

Two other members of Horvath's insider-trading circle are set to follow him on the witness stand.

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