Exactly How Screwed is Alleged Galleon Conspirator Michael Kimelman?
2:33 pm, May 11th | by Amy Tennery
If you have even a modicum of interest in mogul news (let’s hope so) and you’re not living under a rock (that’s your choice, we don’t judge), you already know about the Raj Rajaratnam guilty verdict(s). But this isn’t the end of the Galleon Group saga — oh no, it’s just beginning.
So which of Galleon’s 26 alleged conspiracy members is most likely to capture our attention next (when we’re not busy joining the rampant speculation surrounding the length of Rajaratnam’s prison sentence)? Without a doubt, it’s Michael Kimelman.
The one-time trader had the chance to plead out on the insider trading charges — and receive a non-jail sentence of probation, amazingly enough. Kimelman did not take that deal. Seriously.
Now, according to Reuters, Kimelman faces as many as 45 years behind bars. His attorney explained that this was due to some high-minded innocence that Kimelman maintains.
“Mr. Kimelman’s decision to decline a non-jail sentence, persist in his plea of not guilty, and face the possibility of a sentence of imprisonment if convicted at trial is probative of a state of mind devoid of guilty knowledge. It bears emphasizing that Mr. Kimelman did not just reject a plea agreement. He rejected a non-jail sentence.”
That’s great and all, but if someone accused me of illegal activity and said I might be sent to the slammer for 45 years, I’d take that non-jail deal, even if I were in a coma at the time of the alleged crime. Even if the judge, police and jury were all there to witness said coma. And there was a video of someone else doing it. Unless that probation somehow involved me dangling above an active shark tank for an extended period of time, I’d take probation.
Now, of course, the issue is whether the jury actually gets to know that Kimelman turned down this deal. According to Bloomberg, that issue is up in the air… which really sort of sucks for Kimelman. The issue hasn’t been resolved yet — but we’d venture a guess that the defense is really hoping it pans out. Objective innocence or not, this might just be the ultimate Hail Mary of defense strategies.