The criminal trial of Rajat Gupta, a former board member of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble Co., has been moved from April to May after his lawyer grumbled that prosecutors want to keep changing the charges.
Gupta will now go to trial on May 21 on an indictment returned last week. He is accused of feeding inside information from board meetings to one-time billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lanka-born founder of the Galleon Group hedge funds. Rajaratnam was convicted last year and is serving an 11-year prison term, the longest ever given in an insider case.
Gupta's attorney Gary P Naftalis said on Thuesday the government is "wildly expanding what everyone in the world knew this case to be about."
"At some point, it isn't really fair that they keep trying to add to the case," he told US district judge Jed Rakoff during a Manhattan hearing.
Assistant US attorney Reed Brodsky said the government planned to tell jurors about instances of insider trading that are not described in the indictment. After Naftalis complained, the judge told the government it could not rewrite the indictment and must disclose to the defence any additional instances of insider trading within six weeks.
Gupta is charged with conspiring with Rajaratnam to get a trading edge on secrets he learned as a board member. He remains free on $10 million bail. He pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment on Tuesday.
Prosecutors expanded the case with their latest indictment last week, saying Gupta and Rajaratnam had conspired for at least two years rather than the year previously alleged.
Naftalis said the defence was prepared to show jurors that Gupta and Rajaratnam had a "real falling out" in 2008 and 2009 to dispel the notion that Gupta would be feeding him inside information during that period.
He asked the judge to move the trial date to give the defence time to research the relationship between the men as far back as March 2007, when prosecutors allege that illegal trading began.
Naftalis said the defence "wants to construct a counter-narrative" to how prosecutors say events unfolded. In all, more than two dozen people were charged in the Rajaratnam probe. All except Gupta have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial.
Rajaratnam was convicted thanks largely to wiretaps prosecutors used to back up their claim that he made a fortune by coaxing a crew of corporate tipsters into giving him an illegal edge on blockbuster trades in technology and other stocks. The defence had argued that the tapes revealed nothing more than that Rajaratnam was doing his duty by asking questions about information already circulating in the "real world" of high finance.