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Hedge fund conviction: Why Wall Street should worry

Hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam was convicted on all 14 counts. His trial sets precedents for how other insider-trading cases will be carried out beyond the hedge fund universe.

Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam departs Manhattan Federal Court in New York May 11, 2011. Mr. Rajaratnam was found guilty on all 14 counts in a dramatic case that vindicated the government's aggressive use of phone taps to prosecute Wall Street figures.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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By Cadie Thompson, Producer

Even if Wall Streeters support the verdict in the Raj Rajaratnam case, they still have reason to be a concerned about what exactly that verdict means.

With Rajaratnam convicted on all 14 federal charges, five counts of conspiracy and nine counts of insider trading, a precedent has now been set for how insider trading will be pursued by law enforcement agencies and tried in a court of law.

And basically, federal law enforcement officials have been given the green light to treat suspected violators of securities laws like murderous mobsters.

With Rajaratnam, the prosecutors found the almost perfect defendant.

He appears to have very blatantly and regularly used insider information to make trades. But great defendants can make for bad law.

"The government has acted unfairly. I'm going to play the role of defense counsel here. I feel pretty strongly about this. They have brought to many counts. You know, if you bring enough counts, 14 counts, you bring 30 counts, you bring 50 counts...a judge should of amended that, a judge should of changed that indictment," Jack Burkman, of Burkman Associates, told CNBC before the verdict was reached. "It's very unfair when a judge allows all of these counts to be brought. You have to limit an indictment to give fairness to the defendant. I just think they have gone too far here."


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