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Jeffrey Wertkin and Cris Arguedas outside the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

Describing his actions as “a staggering abuse of his public position,” federal prosecutors in San Francisco on Wednesday sought a nearly three-year prison sentence for Jeffrey Wertkin, a former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner and Justice Department lawyer who admitted to trying to sell copies of confidential whistleblower lawsuits to targeted companies.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday, federal prosecutors said Wertkin’s plan to “cash in” on inside information when he left the government for private practice amounted to “one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption ever prosecuted in the Northern District of California.” The government added that Wertkin—who joined Akin as a partner in 2016 after a nearly six-year stint as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division’s fraud section—stole at least 40 sealed False Claims Act lawsuits from the DOJ and later tried to pin blame on former government colleagues.

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Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty, based in New York, covers the business of law with a focus on legal ethics, lawyer misconduct, conflicts-of-interest and litigation involving law firms. He can be reached at [email protected] On Twitter: @sflaherty18

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