A jury began deliberations Monday in the high-profile insider trading case of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, a decision that will likely hinge on the jury's view of wire-tapped phone conversations played during the weeks long trial.
Rajaratnam is accused of making more than $60 million for his Galleon hedge fund based on inside information illegally obtained from sources with confidential knowledge of company earnings, mergers and acquisitions.
Early on, recorded conversations looked like the prosecution's trump card. In one call, Rajaratnam talks with a Galleon employee about hiring the wife of a potential mole to avoid arousing suspicion.
Defense lawyers responded that the idea was a joke, and if the government is going to present private phone calls, the evidence should be conclusive. In this case, they said, it was no smoking gun.
After a lengthy defense presentation, prosecutors began a rebuttal, which is set to resume Monday. Then, Judge Richard J. Holwell will give the jury instructions, and Rajaratnam's fate will be in their hands.
Rajaratnam has sat in silence throughout the trial. The only time jurors have heard Rajaratnam's voice has been when government lawyers played his recorded phone calls.