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Revealing health details unwarranted: Rajaratnam

Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York
Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Convicted hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam refuses to publicly reveal details of his medical ailments as demanded by U.S. prosecutors before a judge sentences him for insider trading, his lawyers said on Monday.

Multimillionaire Rajaratnam's lawyers said the September 29 request by prosecutors to the sentencing judge to unseal the record was contrary to procedural rules and legal precedent.

"No defendant should be forced to choose between providing the court with medical information relevant to sentencing and making himself subject to a salacious and morbid media feeding frenzy," the lawyers at Akin Gump wrote to U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell.

In the latest exchange between the two sides ahead of Galleon Group hedge fund founder Rajaratnam's sentencing proceeding on October 13 in a landmark insider trading case, prosecutors wrote that the public has a first amendment right to know more about Rajaratnam's health.

The judge will hear arguments on Tuesday from prosecutors and defense lawyers in Manhattan federal court on the separate matter of Rajaratnam's illicit profits. The government puts the figure at $63.8 million and defense lawyers estimate the amount at about $36.3 million.

Last Thursday's government memorandum says that, while Rajaratnam argues in pre-sentencing papers that he needs "life-sustaining medical care," he does not describe his ailments. Prosecutors said they were not asking the judge to make public Rajaratnam's actual medical records, but the documents submitted to the court in support of his position.

The government has asked for a prison term of between 19-1/2 years and 24-1/2 years for Rajaratnam, 54, who was convicted by a jury in May after a two month-long trial in a sweeping insider trading case based largely on FBI wiretaps.

Defense lawyers have asked the judge for a lower sentence. They also requested that Rajaratnam be allowed to remain free on $100 million bail and under house arrest while he appeals his conviction, citing his health and adherence to strict bail conditions.

The case is USA v Raj Rajaratnam et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-01184.

(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Richard Chang)

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