Inside Trader Asks For Community Service Instead Of Prison

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This reminds me of that old story about the man who kills both his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court -- because he's an orphan. I guess I should be used to the idea of a two-tiered justice system by now - but I'm not. If Gupta does get this kind of special treatment, we might as well give up the illusion of a democracy:

Federal prosecutors want Rajat K. Gupta, once one of the world’s most prominent businessmen, to spend as much as 10 years in prison for insider trading.

Mr. Gupta’s defense lawyers would rather he spend time in Rwanda.

It is just the latest intriguing twist in the case of Mr. Gupta, who was convicted of leaking boardroom secrets about Goldman Sachs to the hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

On Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers filed sentencing memos to Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is scheduled to sentence Mr. Gupta on Oct. 24 in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Gupta is the former head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and the most influential of the 69 individuals convicted in the government’s sweeping insider-trading crackdown.

Mr. Gupta’s lawyers have pleaded for a lenient sentence of probation, accompanied by an order that he perform community service. Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, made an unusual request in recommending that Mr. Gupta, who has played a leadership role in a variety of global humanitarian causes, be sent to Rwanda.

“The Rwandan government has expressed support for a program of service in which Mr. Gupta would work with rural districts to ensure that the needs to end H.I.V., malaria, extreme poverty and food security are implemented,” Mr. Naftalis wrote.

Mr. Gupta is hoping that Judge Rakoff is swayed by the more than 400 letters of support submitted on his behalf, including one from Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist, and Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general.

The letters depict a man who, but for his insider-trading conviction, has led an exemplary life.

Miles D. White, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical giant Abbott, wrote, “Rajat’s contributions to global welfare — in business, in philanthropy, in education, in civil society — have been rivaled by very few people.” Mr. Gupta’s leadership on global health issues has “made a real difference in the lives of literally millions of people around the world,” Mr. Gates wrote.

The government, however, is asking that Mr. Gupta be sentenced to between 8 years and one month to 10 years and one month, a range based on a formula in the federal sentencing guidelines. “Gupta’s crimes are shocking,” wrote Richard Tarlowe, a federal prosecutor. “Gupta had achieved extraordinary personal success and was at the pinnacle of a profession built on protection client confidences.”

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