|Sam Waksal's lawyers argue the founder and former CEO of ImClone Systems should be released from prison early to pursue cancer research.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Sam Waksal, the founder and former CEO of ImClone Systems who was jailed on an insider trading scandal that led to the imprisonment of his friend Martha Stewart, is trying to get out of prison early, according to media reports.
The reports say that Waksal attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Abbe Lowell argue in court papers that Waksal should be freed after serving less than two years of a seven-year, three-month sentence to allow him to resume cancer research.
"Further incarceration of Dr. Waksal negatively impacts society," the lawyers wrote, according to the reports. "While Dr. Waksal has done what he can for cancer research from prison, the absence of a laboratory or even computer access has greatly hindered what he can accomplish."
Waksal pleaded guilty to tipping relatives in December 2001 that ImClone's (Research) key cancer treatment Erbitux had suffered a setback in its efforts to win FDA approval, allowing sales of the company's stock before the price plunged on the news.
The drug has won FDA clearance since Waksal started serving his sentence in July 2003. Since he began his incarceration, a Supreme Court decision has ruled that federal sentencing guidelines are unconstitutional, opening the door for federal prisoners sentenced under those guidelines to seek early release.
Stewart was a friend of Waksal and shared with him a stock broker, Peter Bacanovic. Bacanovic and Stewart were eventually convicted of lying to federal investigators about Stewart's sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone the day before the FDA action was announced in December 2001. Stewart was released from prison in March after serving a five-month sentence.
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