NEW YORK, March 8, 2011 (AFP) – The trial of former hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam began Tuesday in New York with the painstaking selection of a jury in a case prosecutors see as an example of Wall Street corruption and greed.
Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam, 53, used insider information at his Galleon Group fund to earn himself at least $45 million, prosecutors said after an investigation making extensive use of wiretaps.
Rajaratnam, who is free on $100 million bail, claims he is not guilty.
In federal court, he remained silent, standing once in his dark suit and white shirt to turn and nod as he was introduced to the pool of more than 100 potential jurors.
Media reports say Rajaratnam could take the highly unusual move of testifying in his own defense, rather than let his legal team do all the talking in a trial expected to hear testimony from a Who’s Who of Wall Street figures — including Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein.
On the opening day of the trial, Judge Richard Holwell oversaw the slow process of whittling down the juror pool to 12 plus alternates.
There were gasps from around the courtroom when Holwell warned that the trial could run two and a half months.
Then, in a 15-page questio