From the beginning, one of the concerns expressed by lawyers for hedge fund portfolio manager Michael Steinberg was that their client would have a hard time finding jurors who weren’t biased by the overload of negative news coverage of his employer, SAC Capital.
But it turns out that their problem is something bigger: potential jurors don’t just dislike SAC, they hate all of Wall Street.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Steinberg, 41, was arrested by FBI agents on 29th March at his Park Avenue apartment and charged with with trading on inside information in two technology stocks, Dell and Nvidia.
Prosecutors accused him of having participated in a ring of illegal hedge fund information-sharing, in which market-moving tips were leaked from company insiders to hedge fund traders and analysts. Steinberg has pleaded not guilty.
On the first day of Steinberg’s insider trading trial, which began Thursday, a group of 100 potential jurors was ushered into a capacious courtroom in lower Manhattan to face Judge Richard Sullivan, an acidic wisecracker tasked with whittling the group down to 12 jurors and 4 alternates.
He walked them through twelve pages of questions, ranging from 'Have you read any recent articles about insider trading investigations or prosecutions ?' to 'What do you do in your spare time ?' But when he got to question 18, 'Do you have any strong impressions, positive or negative, of people who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry, including at investment banks, mutual funds, or hedge funds ?' it became clear that, among this representative sample of the American public, at least, Wall Street money men rank about as high as meal worms.
To access the complete Bloomberg BusinessWeek article hit the link below:
image: © Clyde Robinson