Prosecutors: Reveal Rajaratnam's Medical Problems

Sep 30 2011 | 11:40am ET

If Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam is to get a break on his sentence for insider-trading due to his health problems, prosecutors say that the public has a right to know exactly what those problems are.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan has asked U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell to unseal a number of letters and declarations dealing with Rajaratnam's medical conditions. The former billionaire's lawyers have repeatedly cited Rajaratnam's health—among other things—in decrying the "grostequely severe" sentence of between 19½ and 24½ years sought by prosecutors, going so far as to call it a death sentence. But they have never specified what precisely the "unique constellation of ailments ravaging" Rajaratnam's body are, although Rajaratnam had emergency foot surgery during his trial earlier this year.

"While individuals have a right to medical privacy, Rajaratnam waived such rights, at least in part, by arguing that his medical conditions justify departing or varying from the sentencing guidelines," prosecutors wrote. "The public has a First Amendment right to see the arguments and declarations that both parties submitted to this court about the impact of his medical condition on sentencing."

Prosecutors also called on Holwell to make public "the general nature of his medical conditions and his long-term prognosis" if he chooses to take Rajaratnam's health into account when he sentences the fraudster on Oct. 13.

Which is not to say that prosecutors are buying Rajaratnam's argument. They noted that Rajaratnam committed most of his crimes with full knowledge of his medical condition, and that other defendants in the case have not received leniency for serious medical issues. They also took issue with the defense's allegation that a long sentence for the 54-year-old would be a death sentence, arguing that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons can provide adequate medical care.

Rajaratnam's lawyers have not responded to the request to unseal.

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