When federal authorities want to put you in prison, it helps to be a billionaire with the resources to fight them at every turn. Quite apart from the millions that you can spend on your legal defense team, there is all the money you can spend on trying to prevail in the court of public opinion.
Martha Stewart lavished a fortune on a PR war when the feds came after her for insider trading. She established a website proclaiming her innocence and hired first-tier flacks to try to influence media coverage of the case. It may well have been her faith in her legal and PR efforts that convinced her to turn down a plea bargain that would have kept her out of prison. Rich business people have learned to think that experts can solve any complex problem.
Now billionaire Raj Rajaratnam seems to be going down a similar path, although the charges against him are more serious. Rajaratnam has refused to settle for a plea bargain even as 14 people in the Galleon Group case have already struck deals with prosecutors.
Beyond his top notch team, Rajaratnam has a significant PR effort under way. Visit www.rajdefense.org and you'll see what I mean. You will find a blizzard of press releases aimed at presenting Rajaratnam's viewpoint at every turn in the case. There are also interviews with experts calling into question the government's approach, as well as photos of a friendly Rajaratnam available for download. (You can see one right in this post!) You can even follow the site on Twitter. Oh, and the Rajaratnam PR team has spent a fair amount of energy hammering away at the media for misreporting on the case -- complaints that are filed under a page titled "Media Accountability."
A group called Counterpoint Strategies seems to be coordinating this battle. I can't imagine they come cheap.