Caryn Eisenberg took the witness stand this morning in a black halter top covered by a sequin-studded cardigan and told jurors that Rajat Gupta was among a select group of confidants who could reach Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam during his busiest trading hours. She wore a gold medallion and seemed to conceal a nervous smile as the courtroom waited for jurors to file in.
The outfit Ms. Eisenberg chose for the second day of the insider trading case against Mr. Gupta, former McKinsey & Co. CEO, may have been new, but her testimony mostly reprised accounts aired when Mr. Rajaratnam stood trial last year:
Mr. Rajaratnam did not like to be disturbed by phone calls during the first and last half hours of New York trading, but was made exceptions for Mr. Gupta. Indeed, when Ms. Eisenberg started working for Galleon in January 2008, she was given a list of persons to whom Mr. Rajaratnam might speak at any time.
Mr. Gupta was on the list, as were Anil Kumar, Rajiv Goel—nicknamed Peter Pan—Parag Saxena and Stan Druckenmiller. Danielle Chiesi, she of the insider trading orgasm, later made the grade. When the prosecution projected Ms. Eisenberg’s list of Mr. Rajartnam’s contacts onto a 10-foot tall screen, Mr. Gupta was listed as a “good friend.”
If the news wasn’t exactly new,The Observer’svisit to the Southern District’s lower Manhattan courthouse was worthwhile for the chance to check the scene.
Gary Naftalis, lead attorney for Mr. Gupta, looked like he’d walked in from a rainstorm, although it wasn’t raining. Mr. Gupta clenched his jaw, raising the corners of his mouth in the slightest smile when turning to face assembled friends and family. A photo of Mr. Rajaratnam in Galleon’s old 590 Madison Ave. offices showed the now-imprisoned hedge fund manager in front of eight computer screens. And the 15 or so journalists in attendance read books and newspapers while waiting for Judge Jed Rakoff—40 minutes late for his own proceedings—to shepherd counsel through numerous morning sidebars.
The other thing we learned? Near the start of his examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reed Brodsky asked Ms. Eisenberg what a hedge fund is: “A place where stocks are traded on behalf of investors,” the University of Arizona grad answered.
UPDATE: After The Observer left the courthouse, Ms. Eisenberg described a fateful phone call from Mr. Gupta to Mr. Rajaratnam on Sept. 23, 2008, the day Warren Buffett sank $5 billion into Goldman Sachs. The call came at 3:54 p.m., according to The New York Times. Mr. Rajaratnam told his traders to buy Goldman stock. Ms. Eisenberg? “I went shopping at Bloomingdale’s,” she said.
[Credit: Michael Wuertenberg/World Economic Forum]