Juror Replaced in Rajaratnam Trial

James A. Cohen in HedgeFund, May 04, 2011

Media Source

by Paula Schaap, Editor

As the trial of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam went into the middle of the second week, a sudden change in jurors threw off the timeline for an expected verdict.

A juror in Rajaratnam’s alleged insider trading trial had to be let go Wednesday and was replaced by an alternate.

Federal judge Richard Holwell, who is overseeing the case, told the jury that they would have to start over from the beginning with their deliberations.

The jury had already been deliberating for five days before the sudden switch.

The juror who was excused is an older woman who had an unspecified medical issue.

James Cohen, a criminal defense attorney and professor at Fordham University School of Law, told HedgeFund.net that it was impossible to tell whether the defense or the prosecution might benefit from the shake-up on the jury.

But he also said the new juror was unlikely to change whatever way the jury was leaning so far.

"Wherever they were, this won't change that," Cohen said. "Although they are supposed to begin deliberations anew, nobody knows precisely what that means and there’s no way to supervise the situation."

Rajaratnam himself was not at the trial this week because he underwent emergency surgery Sunday for a foot infection. His attorneys told the judge earlier in the proceedings that he suffers from diabetes.

The hedge fund manager is facing charges that he profited by $63.8 million from trades he allegedly did based on inside information.

He has vigorously fought the charges, claiming that the trades were done on publicly available information.

Ricardo Kaulessar contributing reporting from Manhattan federal court.