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September 12, 2011

Lawyers spar in briefing before Rajaratnam's sentencing for insider trading

This New York Times piece, headlined "Rajaratnam Lawyers Call Sentence Request ‘Grotesquely Severe’," reports on the last round of briefing before the scheduled sentencing of convicted trader Raj Rajaratnam.  Here are some details:

Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Raj Rajaratnam filed their second round of sentencing briefs on Friday, setting the stage for later this month when a federal judge will announce the former hedge fund manager’s prison term.

Mr. Rajaratnam is set to appear before Judge Richard J. Holwell in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Sept. 27.  The government has requested a term of 19 and a half to 24 and a half years.  “Rajaratnam is arguably the most egregious offender of the insider trading laws prosecuted to date,” federal prosecutors said in their court filing.

Defense lawyers said the government is overreaching by requesting a “grotesquely severe” sentence. “The government asks the court to ignore Raj Rajaratnam the human being and to sentence a caricature instead,” Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers said. “This court’s role is not to validate a prosecutorial public relations effort, nor is it to single out one man to serve as the whipping boy for Wall Street misdeeds.”

In May, a jury convicted Mr. Rajaratnam, the co-founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund. He was found guilty of generating illegal gains of $64 million by trading on confidential information about publicly traded companies including Intel and Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld made several arguments in asking Judge Holwell for leniency.  They said that the illegal trades in question accounted for only 1 percent of his trading activity.  They argue that the sentence is disproportionate to the sentences imposed in other insider trading cases, and greater than the average sentence for violent crimes, including kidnapping and sexual abuse.  They also insist that the government’s requested sentence “would guarantee Mr. Rajaratnam’s death in prison” because of the 54-year-old’s medical issues.

The government urged Judge Holwell to reject the arguments presented by Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers.  On the issue of the Mr. Rajaratnam’s health, the government challenged the defense to disclose exactly what medical issues would justify a lenient sentence.

I found the defense reply sentencing memo, which runs more than 50 pages, available at this link.  I cannot yet find a link to the Government's filing.

September 12, 2011 at 09:35 PM | Permalink


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Throw the book at him...24 years. A message needs to be sent to these white-collar greedy scum that in no small way contributed to our country's current economic situation. I'm not normally a big fan of deterrence rationale for punishment because, in most cases, I don't think there is any. Yet in the wall street culture, you better believe that an extremely long sentence will send a message among the good ol' boy network. General deterrence cannot be over-stated in this (and similar) circumstance.

Posted by: anon | Sep 13, 2011 12:31:44 AM

horse twaddle anon...your supposed to sentence based on the INDIVIDUALS crime...not use them as a MESSAGE BOARD!

and WHAT A MESSAGE...he supposedly had 64 million is iffie transactins.

ok the febs want he in jail for 24 years

so where is the 1,0000000000 year sentences for the bankers and walk street boys who cost US the U.S. TAXPAYERS 3 TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out? when i see those indightments...then the febs can talk crap about this guy!

untill then all they look like are JOKES who are giving the numbers runner on the corner LIFE while allowing al capone to run free!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 13, 2011 2:52:11 AM

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