Jury seated, opening arguments underway in big trial


In New York, people are more likely to have strong views about Wall Street in general and hedge funds in particular. Attorneys asked one potential juror for the Michael Steinberg trial if news reports would impair his ability to be fair.

"It might," the man said, reports Bloomberg. "There is fraud on Wall Street and big hedge funds are the primary instigators in people having low wages." The man was excused from the pool after he shared his view that "I think he did do it ... I think his boss should be there instead of him."

An investor relations professional in the pool said, "I would try to be fair ... I'm more concerned with my expertise dealing with hedge funds. I'd have opinions and bias after 15 years. I don't know that I could separate what I know and feel about more from an insider trading perspective." She was excused as well.

But an actor and real estate agent who said he had participated in Occupy Wall Street events was permitted to the jury after he assured the judge he could be fair to Steinberg.

In the end, the judge seated a jury of nine women and three men. The group includes two accountants and a former Postal Service worker, among others.

They had the best seat in the house as opening arguments got underway yesterday.

So far, the trial has played out with no surprises. The defense sought to liken hedge funds to staid mutual funds and portray the star witness, Jon Horvath, as a convicted felon trying to gain favorable treatment by testifying for the government.

Prosecutors promised jurors a glimpse of a "secret pipeline," which Horvath embroiled himself in to deliver an edge for a harsh boss bent on personal gain in the rough-and-tumble hedge fund industry.

For more:
- here is the article
- here is a look at the opening day

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