Rajaratnam: Wiretap Questions Should Keep Me Out Of Jail

Nov 29 2011 | 9:48am ET

As expected, Raj Rajaratnam's appeal of his insider-trading conviction will focus on the most crucial pieces of evidence used against him: the thousands of wiretapped telephone calls.

Lawyers for the Galleon Group founder has asked a federal appeals court to postpone his arrival at prison, currently scheduled for next week, to begin his 11-year sentence. Patricia Millett argued that the "substantial issues" surrounding the wiretaps "support release pending appeal because suppression would require reversal of the conviction and a new trial on every count given that the wiretaps were integral to the merits of Mr. Rajaratnam's conviction."

Millett's filing today including several documents, among them the 2008 wiretap application notable for its "glaring omissions." A hearing on the motion is scheduled for tomorrow.

Prosecutors dismissed Millett's claims, arguing that the exclusion of the wiretaps would necessitate the reversal of Rajaratnam's conviction and noting that the trial judge rejected Rajaratnam's bid to remain free pending his appeal.

"Rajaratnam is wrong that Judge Holwell's decision that wiretaps are authorized for insider-trading investigations raises a substantial issue on appeal," prosecutor Jonathan Streeter wrote. "Congress did not, as Rajaratnam argues, restrict the use of wiretapping to exclude insider trading."

What's more, Rajaratnam, who has been confined to his Manhattan apartment on $100 million bail, remains a flight risk and retains a "significant net worth" even after the nearly $160 million in restitution and fines he's been ordered to pay.

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