Chicago environmental lawyer seeks to undo insider trading conviction

A businessman waits to cross a street in Tokyo
A businessman waits to cross a street in Tokyo April 4, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

March 2 (Reuters) - Nearly two months after he was convicted of insider trading, a Chicago environmental lawyer has asked a federal judge to acquit him after his co-conspirator was found innocent of the same crime.

A federal jury in Chicago convicted David Sargent in mid-January after prosecutors said he received nonpublic information about the earnings of Chegg Inc, an education technology company, to make $110,000 in profit on trades of Chegg stock.

But the same jury acquitted Christopher Klundt, a former Chegg manager who allegedly tipped off Sargent before the earnings news became public, on "the exact same evidence, the exact same charges, and jury instructions that applied the elements of the offenses charged equally to both defendants," Sargent said in a Thursday filing.

Sargent argued that the jury's "inconsistent" verdict merits his own acquittal or at least a new trial, especially because he claims the government's only evidence was circumstantial.

Both Sargent and Klundt asserted they were innocent in the run-up to the trial, which lasted eight days.

A spokesperson for the Chicago U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.

Sargent was previously employed as a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago's School of Environmental Sustainability, said his attorney Christopher Grohman.

Grohman, a former federal prosecutor now working as a partner at the Benesch law firm, said he hopes U.S. District Judge Manish Shah grants the motion.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately brought a civil lawsuit against Sargent and Klundt over the trades. That case has been on hold for the criminal prosecution.

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Chicago environmental lawyer indicted in insider trading plot

Reporting by David Thomas

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.