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On September 4, 2019, after just a few hours of deliberation, a jury in federal district court in Washington, DC found former White House counsel Gregory Craig not guilty of one count of making a false statement. Mr. Craig had an excellent legal team and plenty of funds to pay them (he’s a former Skadden partner). Even that amazing group of lawyers couldn’t convince the Department of Justice not to indict him in the first…
By Dan Portnov I’ll make a confession: I am not a trial attorney. If you need a Johnny Cochran or Benjamin Brafman-type courtroom wizard, I’m not your guy and I never will be. Still… I love trial. I’ve done several and had my moments of glory. It is a rush and sometimes I will completely lose myself in the moment. Sara, on the other hand, is much more seasoned and in command of the courtroom.…
By Sara Kropf When I first started doing white-collar criminal defense work as an associate at a big firm, I noticed that the partner always seemed to know the other lawyers on the case. They had been AUSAs together, or worked at Main Justice at the same time, or toiled in the trenches as federal public defenders. Sometimes they had only a connection forged through a night of drinking at some conference somewhere. At the…
By Dan Portnov If you’re a federal employee or individual under investigation by an Office of Inspector General, waiting for an update or some sign of progress from the OIG can be agonizing. As we’ve written before,[1] OIG policies and procedures are often opaque, and the investigation proceeds at whatever pace the investigating agent desires. Since it is never advisable for the possible target of the OIG investigation to contact OIG directly, your lawyer…
Note: This is the second part of an article that was first published in the ABA Criminal Justice magazine. By Sara Kropf In Part I of this article, we analyzed the difference between blackmail and extortion and examined the various federal statutes that govern those offenses. In this second part, we’ll look at the related Hobbs Act and Travel Act, as well as the sentencing guidelines for these federal statutes. The Hobbs Act and the…
By Dan Portnov (photo from USAToday.com) In perhaps the biggest news story of a slow August, Jeffrey Epstein apparently hung himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan early Saturday morning.[1] Epstein’s suicide launched multiple conspiracy theories (one was even re-tweeted by the President) as well as incredulity that prisons don’t have better suicide prevention policies in place. Less covered, however, is what will happen to the seemingly endless legal…
Note: This article was first published in the ABA’s Criminal Justice magazine in Summer 2019. By Sara Kropf In early February 2019, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published an explosive blog post accusing the National Enquirer’s owner, American Media Inc. (AMI), of blackmailing him. Bezos’ accusations could have serious consequences for AMI. In September 2018, AMI signed a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. As part of the…
By Dan Portnov Last week convicted and newly accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found injured in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), while awaiting his trial. This came shortly after his attorneys lost their bid to have him freed on bail or, in the alternative, kept under “house arrest” in his Manhattan mansion. Although we at Grand Jury Target do not have much sympathy for Epstein, there’s no question that incarceration, including…
By Sara Kropf In the first post on this topic, I described the basics of Rule 17(c) subpoenas. This post will offer some practical tips to convince a court to issue a subpoena to a third party to obtain documents for your defense. As we described in our earlier post, most courts impose three requirements to issue a Rule 17(c) subpoena: (1) admissibility of the documents requested, (2) relevance of those documents, and (3) a…
By Dan Portnov Office of Inspector General investigations don’t always make the news. After all, no one ends up in jail or paying back billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains as a result (usually). However, one federal agency’s OIG seems to garner an outsized amount of attention: the Department of Justice. Are DOJ OIG investigations really that much more interesting, or is it a dose of Schadenfreude for the public – watching those in law…