Jury hears final arguments in insider trading trial of SAC's Steinberg

Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:36pm EST
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer for Michael Steinberg, an SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager on trial for insider trading, urged jurors on Monday to find his client not guilty, saying the government's star witness has been lying.

But a federal prosecutor said Steinberg knew the information he received from SAC Capital analyst Jon Horvath was improper when he made trades that netted more than $1.4 million in profits.

The two sides were making closing arguments in a trial that has been playing out in a federal court in New York for the past four weeks.

The nine women and three men on the jury are expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday. The trial followed SAC Capital's agreement last month to pay $1.2 billion and plead guilty to fraud charges stemming from the insider trading probe.

Steinberg, who worked in SAC's Sigma Capital Management division, is one of eight employees at the hedge fund to face criminal charges for insider trading and the first to fight them at trial.

Steinberg, 41, is charged with five counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud for trading in Dell and Nvidia Corp based on insider information. He denies wrongdoing.

During an animated closing argument, Steinberg's lead lawyer, Barry Berke, centered his attack on Horvath, an ex-SAC analyst who prosecutors contended supplied Steinberg with nonpublic information about companies including Dell and Nvidia.

Berke told jurors Horvath pleaded guilty on the eve of his own trial, after others involved in the conspiracy had already cut plea deals. To avoid jail time, Horvath accused Steinberg of being in on the scheme, Berke said.   Continued...

Former SAC Capital portfolio manager Michael Steinberg (R) arrives with his lawyer Barry Berke at the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York, November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid