Reuters is reporting that Sergei Aleynikov, the Russian programmer convicted by a federal jury of stealing Goldman Sachs’ high frequency trading source code but then released from prison on a legal technicality, was formally indicted Thursday on New York state criminal charges of stealing proprietary trading code from the bank. The indictment is the latest development in a years-long legal battle between Aleynikov and federal and state prosecutors.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joanne Li told State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel that her office had offered Aleynikov a sentence of time served in exchange for a guilty plea. Under the proposed deal, he would not have to serve additional prison time beyond the roughly one year he already served following his conviction on federal charges.
Aleynikov’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, said his client had rejected the offer. Marino told the judge he would move to dismiss the case based on double jeopardy – prosecution twice for the same offense – and accused state prosecutors of having “no sense of decency.”
“The precise factual circumstances that underlie these charges have already been fully adjudicated,” he said. “There’s nothing remotely lawful or constitutional about what’s going on … He left Russia for freedom and the American way, and he got Franz Kafka and Goldman Sachs.”
That’s my favorite line of the year in a trade secrets matter. We’ll report back on this one as it develops.