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2nd Circuit Axes Espionage Conviction of Goldman Sachs Programmer Who Took Source Code to New Job

Posted Feb 17, 2012 2:24 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Apparently deciding that federal prosecutors overreached by charging a former Goldman Sachs Group computer programmer under a commercial espionage statute for taking source code he developed there with him to a new job, a federal appeals court in Manhattan has not only reversed the criminal conviction of Sergey Aleynikov but directed the trial court to acquit him.

His lawyer said he hopes to get Aleynikov, who was sentenced to eight years and has already served one year, out of prison today, Bloomberg reports.

After oral arguments in the case earlier in the day, the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday entered a one-page order directing the lower court to acquit Aleynikov and said a written opinion will be forthcoming at a later date.

During oral arguments yesterday, the three-judge panel questioned whether it was appropriate to apply the Economic Espionage Act to a case like Aleynikov's and compared his action to taking an employee manual or copyrighted material from a former job to a new job, the news agency reports.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Calling Goldman Sachs Code Thief’s Crime ‘Economic Espionage,’ Judge Gives Him 8 Years"

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