On June 10th, Mathew Martoma, convicted of insider trading, will be sentenced. This former SAC hedge fund employee faces up to 45 years. Here is that coverage from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).
But could the pre-sentencing process and the actual decision of the judge take into account that our era is one which sympathizes with (highly) flawed men. Martoma is a type. Obviously he's tormented. His facial expressions and body language transmit a great deal of discomfort. An over-achiever who looked for the illegal edge, earlier he had been thrown out of Harvard Law School for faking with his transcripts. And, as the jury was told in "U.S. v. Martoma," he sought an illegal edge in making gains and avoid losses in trading by pumping confidential information from drug researchers.
In the goody-two-shoe Eisenhower time Martoma would be labeled a bad seed and society wanted to hear that he would receive a long enough sentence to be too old to commit evil when released. That was then. America has not only grown up. It has become fascinated with mankind's dark side.
There's an insightful new book out on this. It's "Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From 'The Sopranos" and "The Wire" to "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" by Brett Martin. Here you can read more about it on Amazon.com.
Both on the medium of television and in real life (highly) flawed men (mostly male fill this space) have become accepted - and popular. We are riveted by both the character Tony Soprano of "The Sopranos" and the late Jame Gandolfini who depicted him. We strove to understand Walter White on "Breaking Bad." No one is condemning the late Philip S. Hoffman.
So, even the representatives of our law systems, including corrections, might take into account that Martoma is a human being. If they weigh his strengths against his character defects they may give him a short enough sentence for him to re-enter society young enough to begin a career path that is entirely legal.
For us in public relations, we might position and package the narratives about our clients caught with their dark side in the spotlight as all too human. We can hammer how they, like so many supposed villains, live their private nightmare. And, who knows what any human being would do if exposed to similar temptations, pressures or addictions, including to wealth.
The meme of the flawed human being is a terrible thing to waste.