• Books,  Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  jazz

    Southern Comfort, Niall Ferguson and Peter Gunn

    Cocktails, books, jazz, and crime. COCKTAILS Crude and low-fi, one’s early-life alcohol memories resonate, but they do so uneasily in our era of craft beers and hyper-precious cocktails. I spent the first semester of my junior year in high school at a lycee in Clermont-Ferrand, France, a city in Auvergne known primarily as the global headquarters of Michelin.  A classmate and I broke into his father’s liquor cabinet and downed half a bottle of a dreadful eau-de-vie.  I barely made it back to the home of my host family, doubtless thinking I was some combination of Albert Camus and Jacques Brel. But one flavor from those early years, once I…

  • Fifth Amendment,  Grand Jury

    Dante’s Guide: Preparing the Grand Jury Witness

    In the year 1300, at age 35, the narrator of Dante’s Inferno famously finds himself in trouble: Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray             from the straight road and woke to find myself                         alone in a dark wood.  How shall I say   what wood that was!  I never saw so drear,             so rank, so arduous a wilderness!             Its very memory gives a shape to fear.   The grand jury witness finds himself or herself in a position not unlike that of the Italian poet at the beginning of his trek through the Divine Comedy.  The federal grand jury is one of the most…

  • Public Corruption,  Special Counsel,  Witnesses

    Special Counsel, Special President, Special Interview

    To interview or not interview? A common question not just for the President of the United States but for any executive, business owner, professional or officeholder who might be approached by agents or prosecutors: We have earlier addressed the perils of interviews here . . . and here: All witnesses do well to bear in mind Proverbs 18:17: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

  • Leadership

    A Meditation On Father’s Day

                            At age 57, I am now five years older than my father was when he died.              For many years, I rarely thought of Daddy.  Primarily, I thought about him every January 6, the anniversary of the day he died. Annually, this was a day upon which my mother and I have the same conversation, rehearsed and hushed.  I loved him, and one might expect me to have thought of him more often, to have honored him, but I did not, at least not until recently.  Before you draw too many conclusions, though, bear in mind that I could not see him clearly.             Have you ever looked…

  • Agencies,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Video Guidance, Agency Guidance and White-Collar Trials

    The Lord noted that the poor will always be with us, but He may as well have been speaking of federal agency guidance documents that are sometimes used against members of the regulatory community. Here is a short video about the DOJ’s recently-promulgated “Brand Memo” and regulatory guidance documents: For a few more details about the Brand Memo, see our earlier post:    

  • Agencies,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Brand’s Memo and Dan’s Desk

    Last month, then-Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand issued a memorandum to Department of Justice civil lawyers concerning the circumstances under which they may and may not use federal agencies’ “guidance documents” in civil lawsuits brought by the government.  Ms. Brand has since left the department to take a position in the private sector, but her memorandum lives on and may have significant effect for American regulated businesses not only for civil litigation – its stated goal – but also for corporate criminal indictments and trials. What Does The Memo Say? The Brand Memo, which is brief, follows up on a November 16, 2017 policy memo issued by Attorney General Jeff…

  • Evidence,  Special Counsel

    More Mueller, and A Question About Hearsay

    On “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” to discuss the Rick Gates plea: Jack Sharman – MSNBC – The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (Feb. 19, 2018) from LFW on Vimeo. Thankfully, they gave me a head’s up about the hearsay question. We have discussed various aspects of the Special Counsel Investigation here.  

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Music

    New Year’s Day: Reflection, Not Resolution

    Reflection without discipline can be self-indulgent, especially as the year draws to a close and a new one opens before us. So, let us impose discipline; avoid white-collar crime (there will be plenty in 2018); and focus on music, booze and books. First, music is especially appropriate at this season, whether for reflection or not.  Here is the Miles Black Quintet, Jazz For The New Year: As jazz critic for the Wall Street Journal (and JazzWax blogger) Marc Myers notes: Sixty-three years ago, on New Year’s Day in 1955, pianist Teddy Wilson, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Jo Jones went into a studio for Norgran Records and recorded The Creative…

  • Cocktails,  Literature,  Theology

    Christmas: Cocktails and Crime, Choirs and Cool

    A few notes, as Christmas is upon us. First, what to drink? I don’t care for Bloody Marys; they’re too acid.  The best Christmas drinks for morning or lunch are milk punch and the French 75. Here is a Garden & Gun article about (and recipe for) milk punch: And, just this past Thanksgiving, I shared notes about the French 75: Second, what to read? This blog dwells on crime fiction, so consider these “best of 2017” lists from the New York Times — — and from The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, and The Rap Sheet. Third, what to listen to? I first read about jazz pianist David Ian…