May 21 fateful day for Rajat Gupta, Dharun Ravi
New York: May 21 promises to be a crucial day for the Indian-American community as one of corporate America`s most prominent India-born executives is scheduled to go on trial here while miles away a New Jersey court is to decide the fate of a Chennai native convicted of hate crime.
The trial of IIT and Harvard educated Rajat Gupta, 63, will begin in US District Court Southern District of New York next Monday with jury selection.
Former McKinsey head Gupta has been accused of passing confidential information he received as board member of Goldman Sachs and Proctor and Gamble to one time billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam.
Rajaratnam, a Sri Lankan native, is currently serving 11 years in prison on insider trading charges.
Gupta has denied any wrongdoing and his fate will be decided by the trial, which will be closely watched by the media as well as corporate America.
The former Goldman Sachs director is one of the most high profile Wall Street executives to be charged with securities fraud by Manhattan`s top federal prosecutor, India-born Preet Bharara.
The same day, nearly 40 miles from the Manhattan court, about the same time Gupta`s trial will begin, former Rutgers university student Dharun Ravi will head to New Jersey where Judge Glenn Berman in the New Brunswick court will hand him his sentence on bias intimidation and invasion of privacy charges.
Ravi, 20, faces up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to India when he is sentenced on Monday.
Ravi was found guilty after a three week trial in March of invading the privacy of his roommate Tyler Clementi by watching his sexual encounter with another man on a webcam in September 2010.
Days later, Clementi had committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge.
The case generated a heated nationwide debate on cyber bullying and treatment of young gays and lesbians.
As the date of sentencing closes in, Ravi`s lawyers are seeking probation and not a prison term for him, arguing through character letters by his family and friends submitted in court that he is not a "hatemongering evil" person who despises gays but is a friendly and caring young man.
Prosecutors however are demanding that Ravi be sentenced to prison as he "shows no remorse" for the criminal acts he committed.
The Indian-American community has been putting its support behind Ravi, organising rallies and launching petition campaigns seeking that Ravi not be sentenced to prison nor be deported.
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