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U.S. seeks to make Rajaratnam's health public

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) - Federal prosecutors demanded on Thursday that the judge who will sentence convicted Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam make documents about the former money manager's medical records public.

The memorandum to U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in New York says that, while Rajaratnam argues in pre-sentencing papers that he needs "life-sustaining medical care," he does not describe his ailments.

In the latest salvo ahead of 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.

A spokeswoman for Akin Gump law firm, which represents Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam, had no immediate comment on the government motion.

"If this court takes Rajaratnam's medical condition into account in sentencing him, at a minimum, the general nature of his medical conditions and his long-term prognosis should not remain under seal," the prosecutors wrote.

They argued this was especially relevant because he cited medical information in seeking a sentence lower than the federal sentencing guidelines, which are non-binding on the judge.

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.

Thursday's memorandum said prosecutors were not asking the judge to make Rajaratnam's actual medical records public, but the documents submitted to the court in support of his position.

Defense lawyers have asked the judge for a lower sentence. They also requested that Rajaratanam be allowed to remain free on $100 million bail and under house arrest while he appeals his conviction, specifically the government's use of secretly recorded telephone conversations to gather evidence.

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 Andre Grenon)

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