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SAC Capital's plea hearing set for Friday

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK, Nov 5 (Reuters) - A hearing has been set for Friday for Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors to plead guilty to securities and wire fraud charges after years of investigations into insider trading at the embattled hedge fund.

The proceeding was disclosed in an order by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan made public Tuesday, the day after prosecutors announced SAC agreed to pay $1.2 billion in penalties as part of a plea agreement.

A separate hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, who is presiding over a related civil forfeiture action against SAC.

SAC's settlement must ultimately win approval of both judges to become effective.

Under the agreement announced Monday, SAC will plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and four counts of securities fraud. The agreement came after the fund was indicted in July on insider trading charges in connection with offenses committed by several employees over more than decade.

SAC will pay $1.2 billion as part of the accord, $900 million of which goes toward resolving the criminal action before Swain. The judge will likely after accepting SAC's plea schedule a later date for sentencing.

In the civil case, Sullivan is being asked to approve a $900 million forfeiture judgment, though SAC will get credit for $616 million it agreed to pay in an earlier settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

As part of the settlement, SAC also agreed to terminate its investment advisory business. Cohen, who has not been personally charged, is expected to continue managing about $9 billion of his own money via a so-called family office.

SAC said in a statement that it took "responsibility for the handful of men who pleaded guilty and whose conduct gave rise to SAC's liability."

The plea hearing before Sullivan on Wednesday is at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT). The plea hearing before Swain on Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT).

The case is USA v. S.A.C. Capital Advisors, L.P. et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-cr-00541.