'Rajat Gupta cannot take a Mother Teresa defence' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Rajat Gupta cannot take a Mother Teresa defence'

india Updated: May 18, 2012 10:22 IST

Rajat Gupta has been forewarned that he cannot beat insider trading charges by trumpeting his philanthropy history any more than Mother Teresa could use her missionary work to fend off bank robbery charges.

"If Mother Teresa were charged with bank robbery, the jury would still have to determine whether or not she committed a bank robbery," US District judge Jed Rakoff told the lawyers of former Goldman Sachs' Indian American director ahead of his May 21 trial.

This was one of a series of rulings given by Rakoff at a pre-trial hearing for Gupta, who has been charged with leaking details about a $5 billion investment by Berkshire in Goldman at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to convicted Galleon hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam.

When Rakoff invited attorneys, "in the interest of wasting time," to challenge his rulings, Gupta's attorney Gary Naftalis "forewarned of the hill I have to climb," urged the judge to reconsider his decision, according to Courthouse News Service.

Naftalis insisted that he should not be forced to play down Gupta's generosity when prosecutors will try to convince jurors that money motivated the alleged crimes.

That notion was inconsistent with Gupta's alleged reputation as "one of the most renowned and active humanitarians in the private sector in the world," Naftalis argued.

Assistant US Attorney Reed Brodsky assuring "You won't hear the government use the word 'greed,'" said he intended to show that Gupta sought favour and opportunity from the alleged tips.

Brodsky also served as prosecutor for the Rajaratnam trial, where the defence also tried to depict their client as the humanitarian backer of the charter school Harlem Children's Zone.

But charity is "really not an issue in this case," Brodsky said.

Meanwhile, both the prosecution and defence have filed lists of big names who could testify or just be mentioned at trial.

They include Warren Buffett, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Meg Whitman and Archer Daniels Midland Co. CEO Patricia Woertz, both Procter & Gamble board members

Possible prosecution witnesses include Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman; Gary D Cohn, the bank's president; AG Lafley, the former chief executive of Procter & Gamble; and Kenneth I Chenault, the chief executive of American Express.