Martha's Pal Gets Maximum Sentence

updated 06/11/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/11/2003 01:00PM

ImClone Systems founder Sam Waksal -- whose insider-trading scandal also ensnared his friend Martha Stewart -- will be trading his jet-setting ways for seven years and three months in prison.

Citing Waksal's "lawlessness and arrogance," Manhattan Federal Judge William Pauley on Tuesday also sentenced the 55-year-old former CEO to pay nearly $4.3 million in fines and back taxes, the Associated Press reports.

"The harm that you wrought is truly incalculable," said Pauley, ordering Waksal to report to prison July 2. Until then, he will wear an electronic monitor and remain under house arrest in his posh SoHo loft.

The stiff sentence is being seen as a bad omen for Stewart, 61, who last week was indicted on charges stemming from her December 2001 sale of ImClone shares one day before the FDA declined to approve of one of the biotech company's new cancer drugs, Erbitux.

Prosecutors say Stewart was acting on a tip from Waksal. Stewart has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Last fall, Waksal admitted that he tipped his daughter, Aliza, to dump her ImClone shares in December 2001. Waksal has not publicly implicated Stewart, AP notes.

In court Tuesday, with his entire family in attendance, Waksal pleaded in a broken voice for mercy, apologizing to cancer patients for any delay the investigation might have caused in approval of Erbitux.

"I am deeply distressed and so very sorry for my actions," he said. "I want to apologize to all the people who may have had confidence in me and whose confidence I betrayed."

He also said, according to New York's Daily News: "I feel great remorse for what I did, but I do not feel bitter."

After his sentencing, Waksal reportedly hugged his brother and his 80-year-old father inside the courtroom. He did not address the crush of camera crews and reporters waiting outside.

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