NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jurors were selected Tuesday in the trial of Rengan Rajaratnam, a former Galleon Group hedge fund manager accused of conspiring with his older brother, Raj Rajaratnam, to engage in insider trading.
The seven women and five men picked as jurors for the federal trial in New York include a history professor, an auto parts delivery driver, a literary agent and a sanitation worker.
Prosecutors accuse Rengan Rajaratnam, 43, of conspiring with his brother, the founder of Galleon, to trade on inside information about technology companies Clearwire Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.N in 2008.
Prosecutors say a tip about Clearwire obtained by Raj Rajaratnam and passed along to his younger brother enabled Rengan Rajaratnam to earn $100,000 personally and Galleon to reap $700,000.
Rengan Rajaratnam has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Daniel Gitner, has argued that the government lacks evidence that his client knew any inside information was disclosed for a personal benefit.
Dressed in a dark gray suit, Rengan Rajaratnam could be seen at the start of Tuesday’s proceeding talking with Julie Blackman, a jury consultant known for advising white-collar defendants.
Past clients of Blackman have included SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Michael Steinberg, Goldman Sachs Group Inc board member Rajat Gupta, and Goldman Sachs vice president Fabrice Tourre.
One potential juror who was not selected told U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald that he was involved in the production of a reality crime TV show.
“This is reality,” Buchwald said.
Jury selection in the trial comes a day after the U.S. Supreme Court left intact the insider trading conviction of Raj Rajaratnam, 57, who is serving an 11-year prison term. A federal jury convicted him in May 2011 of nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy.
Opening statements in Rengan Rajaratnam’s trial were expected on Wednesday. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
The case is U.S. v. Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-00211.
Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis