Monday, November 01, 2010, 11/01/2010 08:13:00 PM

Prosecutors Ask for Another Closed Courtroom In Trade Secrets Theft Prosecution - This Time in Societe Generale Case

By Todd

Reuters is reporting that prosecutors have asked United States District Court Judge Jed Rakoff to seal trial exhibits from the public, close the court to the public when the evidence addresses the nature of the bank's trade secrets, and seal certain transcripts.

This is the prosecution of Samarth Agrawal, who worked with the high-frequency trade group at Societe Generale, which uses a multimillion-dollar computer system to perform sophisticated securities trading within milliseconds. We blogged about this case previously here:

The government supported their request thus: "Not only do victims of trade secrets theft have a strong interest in not being re-victimized when their trade secrets are disclosed to the public and their competitors during trial, but the government has an interest" in enforcing the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, prosecutors argued.

Ivan Fisher, a lawyer for Agrawal, said on Thursday that he will fight the government motion in court papers and at a pre-trial conference on November 4.

"It is grossly prejudicial," Fisher said. "What does the process convey to the jury when they go on recess and then when they come back, suddenly the public spectator section is empty?"

We suppose it sends them the message that very important information is about to be produced and identified - and that makes it very important that the information Judge Rakoff will be admitting and potentially excluding outsiders from seeing really IS secret and competitively sensitive. This is a judge, folks, with a tremendous background in difficult cases and is known to be smart, wise and not a push-over for the government's every argument.

We'll keep an eye on this important issue - the willingness of courts to clear courtrooms and seal transcripts in trade secret cases.


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