Steinberg Judge Won’t Take Himself Off Insider Trading Case

The federal judge presiding over the insider-trading prosecution of Michael Steinberg rejected a request from the lawyer for the SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager that he recuse himself from the case.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan said he had received a letter from Steinberg’s attorney, Barry Berke, asking him to step down from the case. Berke suggested in court March 29 when Steinberg was first charged that prosecutors may be involved in “judge shopping” and figured out how to get the case assigned to Sullivan instead of another judge.

“I am going to keep the case,” Sullivan said today at a hearing. “I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s a fair trial Mr. Steinberg.”

Steinberg, 41, worked at SAC’s Sigma Capital Management unit and is the most senior SAC official to be charged as the U.S. government’s wide-ranging probe of insider trading at the $15 billion firm founded by Steven A. Cohen.

He was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy and four counts of securities fraud for trading in Dell Inc. (DELL) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) based on illicit tips provided to him by his analyst, Jon Horvath.

Steinberg has pleaded not guilty.

The case is U.S. v. Steinberg, 12-00121, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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