* Ex-Galleon man takes plea as Rajaratnam jury deliberates
* 21st in Galleon insider trading case to admit charges
* Rajaratnam trial jury in 2nd day of deliberations
* Jury hears replays of nine phone taps
By Grant McCool and Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, April 26 While a jury studied the
evidence in Raj Rajaratnam's trial on Tuesday, a former trader
associated with his Galleon Group hedge fund became the latest
to plead guilty in a sweeping government probe of insider
trading on Wall Street.
Former trader Craig Drimal, whom prosecutors said worked in
Galleon's offices in New York, but was not employed there at
the time of his November 2009 arrest, pleaded guilty to
securities fraud and conspiracy charges.
Drimal pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court, four
floors above where 12 jurors were locked in a room weighing
Rajaratnam's fate. The jury went into the courtroom early on
Tuesday afternoon to listen to replays of nine government phone
taps in evidence.
Drimal is the 21st out of 26 people accused to admit to
charges in the biggest Wall Street insider trading case in
Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam, 53, is the only one to go on
trial so far. Drimal had been scheduled to go on trial with
three others on May 16. One defendant is at large.
In Rajaratnam's trial, the jury is in its second day of
reviewing evidence, including FBI phone taps and testimony by
three former friends who became government witnesses.
During the seven week-long trial, defense lawyers presented
evidence that Rajaratnam's trades were guided by public
information, not leaks of corporate secrets by highly placed
insiders as the prosecution contends.
Jurors must be unanimous for a guilty verdict on any of the
14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. If convicted,
Rajaratnam faces a prison sentence of up to 25 years.
BREAKINGVIEWS-Galleon verdict could hinge on purported
Jury weighs Rajaratnam's fate in insider case
Galleon Group case graphic r.reuters.com/jyk48r
Defense blasted jury with data blizzard [ID:nN19283273]
Prosecution slowly beat same drum [ID:nN06254548]
Q+A-The case against Rajaratnam [ID:nN0798137]
DRIMAL REGRETS ACTIONS
Rajaratnam's October 2009 arrest was part of an
investigation that prosecutors described as the biggest probe
of insider trading at hedge funds on record.
He and other suspects, including Drimal had been subjected
to court-approved FBI phone taps -- tactics traditionally used
in probes of organized crime families, political corruption and
drug trafficking, not white-collar cases.
Rajaratnam, Drimal and other defendants failed in their
bids before separate judges to have wiretap evidence excluded
on privacy and other grounds.
Drimal, 54, told U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan that
he traded in shares of computer network equipment maker 3Com
Corp and Canadian drug company Axcan Pharma Inc, based on tips
from lawyers working on merger transactions.
"At the time I did these trades," Drimal said, "I believed
my conduct was illegal and wrong, and I deeply regret these
actions that have caused such pain for my family and friends."
Drimal is free on bail until sentencing on Sept. 9. The
government has suggested a prison term of between five years
and 10 months, and seven years and three months.
His lawyer, JaneAnne Murray, declined to comment after the
The cases are USA v Raj Rajaratnam et al, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-01184; and USA v
Goffer et al in the same court, No. 10-00056.
(Reporting by Grant McCool, Jonathan Stempel and Basil Katz;
Editing by Tim Dobbyn)