SAC Capital pleads not guilty

SAC Fraud Charges (MGN Online)

By Aaron Smith and Chris Isidore

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — SAC Capital attorneys entered not guilty pleas to the federal criminal charges against the hedge fund at the initial hearing in the case Friday morning.

SAC Capital was represented by attorneys from two top New York law firms: Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The hearing was held before U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

Swain set Sept. 24 for the next hearing in the case.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara brought criminal charges against the firm Thursday accusing it of engaging in a pattern of insider trading that was “on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry.” Six former portfolio managers or research analysts from SAC have already pleaded guilty to insider trading while at the firm, with two more awaiting trial.

A spokesman for the firm said Thursday that the firm’s employees who have pleaded guilty do not “reflect the honesty, integrity and character of the thousands of men and women who have worked at SAC over the past 21 years.”

Steven Cohen, the billionaire founder and CEO of SAC, was not at Friday’s hearing.

Cohen himself does not face criminal charges although the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against him. Bharara would not rule out the possibility of future charges against Cohen, saying that the investigation is ongoing.

The U.S. Attorney is seeking forfeiture of at least hundreds of millions of dollars from the firm.

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