Closing Argument

NEW YORK, April 20, 2011 (AFP) – Federal prosecutors cited “devastating” evidence Wednesday against hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam at the close of the biggest Wall Street insider trading trial in a generation. In the government’s closing statement against Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam, Assistant US Attorney Reed Brodsky said secret tape recordings of phone conversations with the Galleon fund founder provided “devastating evidence of the defendant’s crimes in real time.”

In a rising voice, Brodsky said Rajaratnam “committed the crime of insider trading repeatedly” in an attempt at “conquest” of New York’s dizzyingly lucrative, high-stakes hedge fund market.

But defense attorney John Dowd told the jury the government was distorting facts, coercing witnesses and creating an “imaginary” picture of Rajaratnam. “You’ve been badly misled today,” Dowd said.

According to Dowd, Rajaratnam did not profit from illegal insider tips on stock movements, but rather used aggressive research to get legitimate, public information from media reports, analysts and trader chatter.

“The government case rests on a fictionalized idea that information can’t ever become public until a company issues a press release. In t