Ex-Goldman Sachs programer seeks to overturn code theft conviction

FILE PHOTO - Former Goldman Sachs computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov (L) smiles as he exits Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc programer Sergey Aleynikov on Monday filed a new challenge to his criminal conviction of stealing computer code from the investment bank when he left for another job.

Aleynikov, whose case partly inspired Michael Lewis’ bestselling book “Flash Boys” on high-frequency trading in the U.S. equity market, previously got his conviction overturned by the judge who oversaw his 2015 trial in Manhattan Supreme Court.

A New York appeals court reinstated the conviction, and the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld that decision last month.

Aleynikov, a Russian-born U.S. citizen, has said he intended the code only for his own use.

Aleynikov, 48, said in the filing that although the Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, its reasoning in doing so showed that the jury had been given incorrect instructions, and that his case violated the prohibition against double jeopardy.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, which prosecuted the case, could not be reached for comment.

Aleynikov, 48, was arrested on federal charges in July 2009 and convicted in December 2010. He served 11 months of an eight-year prison sentence before the conviction was overturned.

Vance filed state criminal charges against him in August 2012 and he was convicted in May 2015, but the judge who presided over the trial overturned the verdict on grounds that copied code was not “tangible” and therefore not covered by state law.

The Appellate Division, First Department, reinstated the conviction in January 2017, saying a copy on a disk was “tangible” because it could be touched.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York