Once cleared, ex-Goldman Sachs programmer now convicted anew

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NEW YORK (AP) — A computer programmer accused of stealing confidential Goldman Sachs computer code was found guilty Friday for a second time, after being convicted, cleared and then charged anew by a different prosecutor.

This time, a Manhattan jury convicted Sergey Aleynikov of one of three counts against him, following a bizarre trial in which a juror accused another of tampering with her lunch during deliberations. Aleynikov was acquitted on a second count, and the jury couldn't reach a verdict on the third.

"As today's verdict demonstrates, the misappropriation of proprietary information is a crime," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.

Defense lawyer Kevin Marino had argued that Aleynikov violated Goldman Sachs' confidentiality policy but didn't commit any crime. The verdict, with its mix of conviction, acquittal and deadlock, showed jurors were befuddled by the charges, he said.

"You've had a jury struggling with this" because the case hinged on legal questions, not factual ones, he said.

Aleynikov, 45, worked for Goldman for two years, becoming a $400,000-a-year vice president. He was accused of copying a chunk of secret, valuable computer code during his last day of work at Goldman in June 2009 and planning to bring the code to his new employer.

The code helped run what's known as high-frequency trading, or using mathematical formulas to evaluate moment-to-moment developments in the markets and rapidly execute scores of trades.

Aleynikov was convicted of federal charges in December 2010. But an appeals court cleared him and freed him from prison in 2012, saying his conduct wasn't a crime under federal laws.

Six months later, Vance unveiled state charges against Aleynikov.

During deliberations this week, a juror told the court she feared a fellow juror had poisoned her, partly because some avocado was missing from her lunch. State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Conviser called the allegations unfounded and dismissed both the jurors. The remaining 10 jurors continued deliberating.

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