NEW YORK, DEC. 4 -- Former stock speculator Ivan F. Boesky, saying that he wants "to redeem myself and leave this earth with a good name," has asked a federal judge to sentence him on Dec. 18 rather than waiting until he completes his cooperation with federal prosecutors about Wall Street corruption.

As a result of the surprise request, Judge Morris Lasker will impose sentencing in two weeks apparently without public disclosure, as prosecutors had promised, of the details of Boesky's crimes and the nature of his cooperation.

Ordinarily, a criminal defendant who has made a plea bargain with prosecutors prefers to delay sentencing until the full results of his cooperation, such as the successful completion of a trial, can be seen and evaluated by a sentencing judge. But in this case, Boesky and his attorneys have adopted the unusual tactic of seeking sentencing before his cooperation is finished.

Boesky appeared Thursday morning in the chambers here of Judge Lasker, who has been assigned the sentencing. During a hearing, Boesky made his first public statements since his unprecedented plea bargain was disclosed to the public in November 1986.

Boesky agreed then to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud, carrying a maximum exposure of five years in prison, and to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission a record $100 million to settle insider stock trading charges. He also pledged to cooperate fully with prosecutors.

Information provided by Boesky has led to guilty pleas by merger specialist Martin A. Siegel and former brokerage executive Boyd L. Jefferies, among others. But the most active investigation stemming from Boesky's cooperation has been a government probe of the large Wall Street investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. That investigation has not yet been completed.

"I just want to say that I am deeply ashamed and I do not understand my behavior," Boesky said at the hearing. "I have spent the last year trying to understand how I veered off course.

"I would like the opportunity as I go forward to redeem myself and leave this earth with a good name," Boesky said.

If Boesky is sentenced as expected on Dec. 18, he will not immediately go to prison. Carroll told Lasker that "the government would request that any surrender {to a prison} of Mr. Boesky be deferred" until his cooperation was completed.

Though Boesky's sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 18 for months, it was widely expected that the date would be postponed pending the completion of Boesky's cooperation in the Drexel probe. According to sources, Boesky has provided the government with evidence about an alleged illegal stock trading scheme involving Drexel executive Michael Milken.

Boesky's attorney, Leon Silverman, acknowledged at the hearing that the decision to go forward with sentencing is likely to generate controversy.

"The difficulty is that it is impossible {to explain Boesky's decision} so that the press and public will understand it. I regret it. It is unfortunate. It puts great pressure on Mr. Boesky, the government, and the SEC and the court, but it is unfortunately the state of play."

Judge Lasker responded by saying that while a solution to the problem of potential public controversy "would be to wait until. ... the government felt that the cooperation could be revealed" it was nonetheless "inadvisable to go that course, that the delays so far have provoked questioning and further delay would provoke even greater questioning."

Silverman said that "one of the other reasons" Boesky wanted to go forward with sentencing was that "for all practical purposes Mr. Boesky has been in incarceration... .

"He cannot walk down the street without being pointed to. He can't go into a restaurant. He can't use a credit card without have people rush up to him... . This is the kind of terrible pressure that he has been involved in."

Lawyers for Boesky and the Manhattan U.S. attorney agreed at the hearing that Judge Lasker is caught between what Silverman called "blood lust in the community" seeking punishment for Boesky and the need to reward him for his cooperation.

"The public probably considers punishment a more important factor in this case than they do the question of cooperation even if they may be wrong about that," Lasker said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Carroll described Boesky's crimes, which are known to extend far beyond insider trading charges and to include manipulation schemes that allegedly helped facilitate corporate takeovers, as "certainly widespread ... serious, extensive, systemic.

"The larger crimes here in our view are the crimes that Mr. Boesky has engaged in largely at the behest of others," Carroll said. "There we are dealing with ... a systemic corruption that undermines the financial world... . "

"So it appears from your memorandum," Lasker agreed, referring to a list of Boesky's crimes, including the people allegedly involved in the schemes Boesky has described to the government. The list has been placed under seal by the judge.

Special correspondent John Kennedy contributed to this report.