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SAC’s Steinberg Faints as Jury Prepares to Give Verdict

SAC Capital Fund Manager Michael Steinberg
SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Michael Steinberg exits federal court in New York, on March 29, 2013. Photographer: Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg

SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Michael Steinberg had a “dizzy spell” as a jury in Manhattan federal court prepared to deliver its verdict in his insider trading case after only one day of deliberations.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan excused the jurors and asked that an ambulance be called. Steinberg recovered after slumping down in his chair, telling the judge he thinks he’s “OK.” He then walked over to the judge’s robing room.

“He fainted?” Sullivan asked defense lawyer Barry Berke.

“He had a seizure of some sort,” Berke responded. Steinberg faces as long as 25 years in prison if convicted.

Lawyers said they didn’t think an ambulance would be needed. Sullivan asked that juice be brought to Steinberg.

“I don’t want to jeopardize Mr. Steinberg’s health,” the judge said. “It might be his blood pressure or blood sugar,” Berke explained, saying that his client has had such episodes in the past. He told Sullivan that Steinberg had eaten lunch.

“None of us are doctors,” Sullivan said. “We may want to be safe rather than sorry.” Addressing Steinberg, the judge said “Your health is something we take very seriously, let’s not take any chances, ok?”

Steinberg later returned to the courtroom, with his lawyers and his brother, who is a physician.

Appeared Ashen

Steinberg, 41, faces five counts including conspiracy and securities fraud. The verdict comes after a five-week trial during which federal prosecutors argued that he used illegal tips on technology stocks provided by his former analyst, Jon Horvath, to reap more than $1.4 million in illicit profits.

Steinberg, who appeared ashen, had earlier walked to the room adjacent to the courtroom to have a paramedic take his vital signs.

Sullivan told lawyers that the jury wasn’t deliberating because “the verdict is in.”

Sullivan sent the jury a note after the episode that he read aloud in court.

“As you may have noticed, Mr. Steinberg had a brief dizzy spell in court. He appears to be fine now. But we’re going to take a brief break now to make sure he’s alright,” Sullivan said.

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