Societe Generale Trade Secrets Trial Will Proceed in Open: Defense Counsel Warned That "Tongue Lashing" Awaits
Bloomberg is reporting that the trial of Samarth Agrawal, the former Societe Generale trader accused of stealing software code used in high frequency trading, will remain open to the public.
Agrawal was charged by federal prosecutors in April with theft of trade secrets. The government said Agrawal, hired by Societe Generale in New York in March 2007 to work as a quantitative analyst in the high-frequency trading group, made copies of one part of the code he had been given access to and another part he wasn’t allowed to have.
“My recollection of the constitutional protections include an open court,” Rakoff said at a hearing today. “That protection cannot be overcome because it makes it more difficult for the government to prove its case.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Levy told the judge that Agrawal was believed to have printed out between 500 to 1,000 pages from Societe Generale’s computers. Rakoff interrupted, saying, “The jury, I am sure, has no interest in seeing 500 pages of a logarithm code.”
The judge said prosecutors can renew their request to close the courtroom if they determine potential trade secrets might be disclosed. He told lawyers to prepare to deliver opening statements to the jury as early as Nov. 8.
Defense counsel advised Judge Rakoff that they had no defense strategy of parading trade secrets around the courtroom. Rakoff said that if defense counsel Ivan Fisher did disclose any trade secrets, “he would run the risk of some unfortunate consequence, like jail, like disbarment, or even worse, getting a tongue-lashing from me.”