Former SAC Capital portfolio manager Michael Steinberg seeks to question potential jurors in his insider-trading trial.

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Lawyers for Michael Steinberg argued that the news media frenzy surrounding the government’s investigation of SAC and its owner, Steven A. Cohen, could unfairly influence the jury pool.

Considering prominent coverage of Steinberg’s case, his lawyers asked the presiding judge Richard J. Sullivan to use a juror questionnaire focused on awareness of the publicity and whether prospective jurors hold an opinion about the case.

Potential Jurors Could Be Swayed

The lawyers have highlighted in their memo stories about the investigation into Steinberg’s trading in two technology stocks were likely fueled by government leaks, and that potential jurors could be swayed by what they’ve already read about the case in the press.

The memo further said: “The coverage has not only been ubiquitous, but its qualitative content has also been inflammatory, thereby heightening the risk that it could interfere with the ability of potential jurors to assess impartially the government’s case against Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Steinberg’s defense”.

Ex-SAC Manager Was Arrested In March

During March, SAC Capital Partner’s long-time portfolio manager, Michael Steinberg was arrested by The Federal Bureau of Investigation. The authorities charged the portfolio manager with four counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud in connection with the allegation that he committed illegal trades in the shares of Dell Inc and Nvidia Corporation, based on information obtained from an analyst. Besides, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an insider trading complaint against Steinberg in the federal court of Manhattan.

However, Michael Steinberg pleaded not guilty and posted $3 million bond. He was arrested based on information provided by his former analyst Jon Horvath, who admitted wrongdoing.

Steinberg’s lawyer argued that the focus on emails admitted into court records in the case against Jon Horvath is hurting Steinberg. The emails show Jon Horvath discussing information about Dell that was allegedly not public. Steinberg is included in the email chain and warns another recipient to “please be discreet.”