• Congressional Investigations,  Fifth Amendment

    Where Did You Go, Batman? Martin Shkreli, Congress, the Fifth Amendment and You

    It does not help that the most recent symbol of the Fifth Amendment is The Joker:   There has been plenty of news coverage about Martin Shkreli, “pharma bro” and alleged securities fraudster, and his appearance before Congress.  (Examples are here, here and here).   The proceeding itself was snarky, entertaining and time-wasting: Congressional testimony is political theater, no more and no less, but some observations are in order for us non-Joker citizens, as well. As a refresher, it never hurts to take a look at what the Constitution actually says: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment…

  • Fifth Amendment,  Legal Education,  Obstruction of Justice,  Presumption of Innocence,  Witnesses

    The Five Best Ways for Your Client’s Employees to Get Indicted

    The nice folks at the Birmingham Bar Association (and white-collar criminal defense lawyer Steve Shaw in particular) invited me to deliver a lunchtime CLE on a white-collar subject of my choice.  The topic ended up being “The Five Best Ways for Your Client’s Employees to Get Indicted.” One could come up with more ways your client’s employees could get indicted, but life is short. Here is the handout: The Five Best Ways for Your Client’s Employees to Get Indicted. Download it.  It’s not legal advice, but it has some fairly useful material about bribery, obstruction and honest-services fraud in the Eleventh Circuit, as well as quotes from Men In Black (1997).  We spent…

  • Obstruction of Justice

    Barry Bonds, Ramblin’ Man

    The federal appeals court in San Francisco recently reversed baseball player Barry Bonds’s conviction for obstruction of justice. The criminal charge and conviction arose out of testimony that Bonds gave to a grand jury investigating the illegal provision and use of steroids in major league baseball.  As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals summarized it: During a grand jury proceeding, defendant gave a rambling, nonresponsive answer to a simple question.  Because there is insufficient evidence that Statement C was material, defendant’s conviction for obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1503 is not supported by the record. Whatever section 1503’s scope may be in other circumstances, defendant’s conviction here must…

  • Cooperation Agreements,  Parallel Proceedings

    For Corporate Counsel || Stalking Horses, Pitchfork Crowds, Narrow Neckties, Mr. Rogers’s Slippers and Indicted Employees: 6 Steps To Dodge Being Deweyed

    You may (or may not) recall the Boy Scout Law: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, friendly, brave, clean and reverent.” Your corporate employees, officers and colleagues may exhibit all, some or none of those characteristics.  Even if one masters all the peculiars of the Boy Scout Law, however, strict adherence is no shield against indictment in the situation where one moves from “witness” to “target” for reasons outside the control of the “Scout.” So: herewith 6 lessons to heed if you wish to avoid ending up like a young man named Zachary Warren.   It is unusual for the government to indict leaders of…