MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal judge refused Friday to delay the inside-trading trial of one of the last holdouts in the government’s takedown of a $63 million scheme that has netted more than 20 guilty pleas and the conviction of billionaire Raj Rajaratnam.
Emanuel Goffer is scheduled to start trial Monday, but requested a two-week delay from U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan. He claims he could be prejudiced by a major conviction that the government won against Rajaratnam, who was found guilty of engineering the scheme in which Goffer is allegedly complicit.
Rajaratnam’s conviction generated “inflammatory” headlines that may taint the jury pool, Goffer argued, suggesting that those headlines may fade from public memory in a couple of weeks.
In a terse one-page order, Sullivan said he does not think the press coverage will impact the trial, or that two-week delay would help.
“The Court sees no reason, and Gaffer has not offered one, why potential prejudice resulting from a juror’s familiarity with Rajaratnam’s trial cannot be identified and addressed during jury selection,” Sullivan wrote. “Likewise, Gaffer has failed to articulate what effect a two-week adjournment will have on potential jurors’ awareness of the Rajaratnam trial.”
His trial begins on Monday at 9:30am.Found guilty of 14 counts of security fraud and conspiracy, Rajaratnam was the ringleader of what prosecutors call the largest hedge-fund insider-trading scheme in history. More than 20 of the 26 alleged co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to some role in the scheme to date.