Testimony kicks off in ex-Goldman programmer code theft trial

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 08, 2015 5:58 PM

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - The trial of a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc computer programmer accused of stealing code from the investment bank got underway Wednesday with testimony from Goldman technology employee Joseph Yanagisawa.

Sergey Aleynikov, a dual citizen of Russia and the United States, is charged by state prosecutors with stealing computer code as he prepared to leave Goldman for a high-frequency trading startup in Chicago.

The defense has argued that the case should be barred by double jeopardy given a previous federal trial, conviction and dismissal. Aleynikov's lawyers also argue that what he did was not illegal.

Yanagisawa is one of the people who spoke with federal agents who first investigated Aleynikov. He testified Wednesday about the security of Goldman's computer systems.

Testimony is expected to continue on Thursday in the case, which inspired Michael Lewis' best-selling book "Flash Boys."

Aleynikov, 45, first arrested by federal agents in 2009, was already tried and convicted in federal court.

An appeals court threw out the conviction in 2012, saying the anti-espionage law did not apply and setting him free after about a year.

About six months later, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance revived the case in state court and charged him in August 2012 with unlawful duplication of computer-related material.

Aleynikov faces 1-1/2 years to four years in prison if convicted on state charges. His first sentence was eight years.

The case is People v. Aleynikov, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 04447/2012.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Christian Plumb)