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Rajat Gupta daughter, friends take witness stand

New York: A day after former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta notified the court that he will not testify in his own defence, his eldest daughter and close friends took the witness stand on his behalf in the high-profile insider trading trial here.

The defence Monday presented in Manhattan federal court character witnesses, who testified about Gupta`s honesty and integrity, before it prepares to wrap its case by tomorrow. Closing arguments in the trial, which is running in its fourth week, will be made tomorrow.

Gupta`s 33-year-old daughter Geetanjali, the last to take the witness stand Monday, told the jury in a confident voice that she had studied law and management at Harvard and currently works for the Harvard Management Company.

She has been regularly attending her father`s trial, sitting with her mother and three sisters in the spectators` bench right behind Gupta, who sometimes turns and leans back to talk to his family during breaks in the court proceedings.

As Geetanjali walked up to the witness stand, Gupta`s gaze followed her. However, her testimony was interrupted by the prosecution which raised an objection when Gupta`s lawyer Gary Naftalis began questioning her about a September 2008 conversation she had with her father regarding his investment with Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Due to a lengthy discussion between the judge and attorneys over the objection, the jury was dismissed for the day and the testimony of Geetanjali, a mother of two-year-old twin girls, will resume later Tuesday.

Gupta`s lawyer, who had said last week it was "highly likely" that he will testify in his defense, conveyed to the judge on Sunday that his client will not take the witness stand "after substantial reflection and consideration." If convicted 63-year-old Gupta, who served on boards of various companies, faces up to 25 years in prison.

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