John Dowd, on the other hand, is not a recreational athlete, at least not by appearances. He outweighs Mr. Streeter in nearly every relevant category: He has more than 20 years, 50 pounds and (one supposes) a few million dollars on his legal adversary. He’s best known for conducting the Major League Baseball investigation that permanently banned Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose from ever getting a mention in the Hall of Fame. He has at his beck and call all the resources of a high-end law firm: six lawyers on his team, innumerable paralegals, PowerPoint designers. He also has the benefit of input by the team of lawyers who have been winding down Galleon, the crowd of very well-dressed Shearman & Sterling attorneys who have been haunting the trial on a near-daily basis.
In his opening statements, Mr. Dowd has made clear his plans to present the government’s witnesses as unhinged, money-grubbing fraudsters. The problem, for Mr. Streeter at least, is that some of them might actually be unhinged, money-grubbing fraudsters. Mr. Rajaratnam, said Mr. Dowd, “was generous to a fault; particularly to his friends and former classmates who are now trying to use that generosity to save their skins.” If Mr. Streeter is going to make this work, then, he has to paint a different portrait of his co-conspirator witnesses: criminals, yes, but credible criminals.
On the first afternoon of questioning, regret hung heavy over the room. At the witness stand, in a dark suit and inky purple tie with his hands nervously clasped, sat Anil Kumar, former senior partner at McKinsey, now insider trading co-conspirator-turned-government informant. Facing him across the courtroom, Mr. Rajaratnam, his estranged friend, betrayed no emotion over what had passed between them.
In questioning Mr. Kumar, Mr. Streeter worked to lay in the jury’s mind the image of a highly intellectual business genius whose aggrieved sense of underappreciation had led him to make some major mistakes. He began with Mr. Kumar’s biography–his degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, the University of London and Wharton, followed by more than 23 years at McKinsey.
With the assistance of Mr. Streeter, Mr. Kumar narrated a Garden of Eden-like seduction, with Mr. Rajaratnam in the role of the snake, at an encounter following a 2003 charitable event. It was there that Mr. Rajaratnam suggested to Mr. Kumar that McKinsey PowerPoints were not really what his firm was interested in. Mr. Kumar said Mr. Rajaratnam encouraged him to think of himself as overworked and underpaid and as having been exiled to open McKinsey’s office in India while his colleagues in the U.S. made fortunes. Then he offered him $500,000 a year for his “ideas.”
Under Mr. Streeter’s questioning, Mr. Kumar told of the Swiss account he then set up and the investment in Galleon he made in the name of his Indian housekeeper. Mr. Streeter provoked Mr. Kumar’s palpable remorse when he forced him to recall his misdeeds: “I was actually quite proud,” Mr. Kumar said of a deal he helped put together between two companies, “and sadly, I violated everything in sharing it with Mr. Rajaratnam.”
But Mr. Streeter also took clear advantage of Mr. Kumar’s intellect, the authority of his Anglo-Indian accent, his ability to articulate financial matters in a simple way and his pedagogical manner to ask other kinds of questions as well: What is a hedge fund? What kinds of people invest in them? What is private equity? What kind of hedge fund was Galleon? What does it mean to go short on a stock? Do you know why Bank of Bermuda was being used? The jury watched him attentively. It had been a long day of sitting, but nobody looked bored.
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