Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) director accused of conspiracy in an insider-trading scheme, shouldn’t be barred from presenting evidence at trial of his charitable works, his lawyers said.
Gupta is scheduled to go on trial May 21 in Manhattan federal court on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy for allegedly leaking tips to Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam. Gupta has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors have said evidence of Gupta’s past charitable contributions and the purported damage the case has had on his reputation aren’t relevant. Prosecutors have also sought to block Gupta’s lawyers from speculating before the jury about the government’s motives in bringing the case.
“The government attempts to hamstring the defense,” Gupta’s lawyers said in a court filing yesterday. “Mr. Gupta’s charitable activities are a large component of his background and a critical element of who he is as a person.”
Prosecutors are attempting to define Gupta to the jury in a way favorable to the government, excluding “relevant and important evidence” from the trial, Gupta’s attorneys said.
Prosecutors also asked U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff to keep Gupta from telling the jury about his potential prison sentence if convicted. Gupta is charged with six counts of securities fraud, each of which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years, and one count of conspiracy, which carries a five-year maximum. Gupta also faces a fine of as much as $5 million, prosecutors have said.
Rakoff hasn’t ruled on the requests.
Rajaratnam, who the government alleges was Gupta’s co- conspirator in the scheme, is serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison.
The case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-00907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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