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Ex-Galleon trader presents no defense at NY trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Galleon Group hedge fund trader did not put on a defense at his insider trading trial, and the judge said the jury will hear closing arguments in the case on Wednesday.

A defense attorney for 34-year-old Zvi Goffer, who once worked at Raj Rajaratnam’s Galleon Group and two other trading firms, told the Manhattan federal court judge on Tuesday he would not present evidence or call witnesses to defend his client.

“Your honor, on behalf of Zvi Goffer, we’ll rest,” said attorney William Barzee.

Goffer is on trial for conspiracy and securities fraud along with his brother and fellow trader Emanuel Goffer, 32, and former trader Michael Kimelman, 40.

All three have pleaded not guilty. Defendants are not required to present any of their own evidence or witnesses when they go on trial.

The trial is in its third week. It started days after a jury in the same courthouse convicted Rajaratnam of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud in the biggest Wall Street insider trading trial in years.

Andrew Fish, lead prosecutor in the Goffer trial, told U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan on Tuesday that the government was done presenting its side of the case. Government attorneys have played more than two dozen secretly recorded conversations in the trial, which began on May 16.

The Goffer brothers and Kimelman founded trading firm Incremental Capital LLC in August 2008 following Goffer’s dismissal from Galleon, where he worked for eight months. The trial covers their activities from 2007 to 2009.

The men were arrested and charged in November 2009, weeks after Rajaratnam’s arrest in an investigation that used extensive FBI phone taps for the first time in an insider trading probe.

A lawyer for Kimelman defended his client Tuesday, questioning FBI Special Agent Jan Trigg, the lead investigator in the Goffer probe. Defense attorney Michael Sommer presented Kimelman’s trade records in hopes of convincing the jury that the timing of the trades, particularly those involving the stock of former electronics maker 3Com, did not correspond to alleged insider tips.

“Is it possible the 3Com trades were product of his own research?” Summer asked.

“Anything’s possible,” Trigg said.

Kimelman and Emanuel Goffer rested their cases in the afternoon.

If found guilty by the jury, the Goffers and Kimelman could face up to 25 years in prison.

The case is USA v Zvi Goffer et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-00056.

Additional reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Martha Graybow, Gary Hill