Securities Law

Akin Gump Lawyer Cites ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in Rajaratnam Insider Trading Trial

A defense lawyer for the hedge fund manager accused of gaining more than $63 million through insider trading cited Alice in Wonderland in closing arguments on Thursday.

Lawyer John Dowd told jurors that the government’s case against Galleon Group co-founder Raj Rajaratnam is straight out of the Lewis Carroll classic, the Courthouse News Service reports. To believe the evidence, jurors would need to go “down the rabbit hole,” he said.

Dowd argued Rajaratnam was trading on information that was public knowledge, despite the government’s insistence that it was confidential, Bloomberg Business reports in a Washington Post article. He also called tipsters who testified against Rajaratnam liars who got a “free ride” from the government for their testimony.

Dowd called one of the government witnesses—Courthouse News Service and Bloomberg differ over which one he was referencing—“the worst liar to ever take the stand in any courtroom in this building.” In all, Dowd used the word “lie,” more than 30 times, according to a count by Courthouse News. The trial is taking place in Manhattan federal court.

Dowd is an Emory law school graduate who “speaks in a steady, dispassionate drawl that contrasts his broadsides against government witnesses,” according to Courthouse News. He is identified as the co-leader of the white-collar defense practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on the firm’s website. A March article in the Wall Street Journal said Dowd was pursing “a defense strategy that is combative, even by the rough-and-tumble standards of large criminal trials.”

Dowd represented Sen. John McCain in the Keating Five scandal; the Republican was never charged. His last major criminal trial was in 1997 when he defended Arizona Gov. J. Fife Symington against bank fraud charges. There is disagreement, the Wall Street Journal says, over whether Dowd shouted at prosecutors and lost his cool at a pretrial meeting in that trial. A Dowd spokesman says it never happened.

Prior coverage: “Another Attorney Takes Plea in Galleon Case, Admits Connecting Trader with Ex-Ropes & Gray Lawyers” “Judge OKs Rajaratnam Wiretaps in Galleon Insider-Trading Case”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.