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Latest from Grand Jury Target

By Sara Kropf The Department of Justice’s “supplemental and amended” sentencing memorandum in the Roger Stone criminal case is nothing short of extraordinary. You can find a copy of the updated Stone memo here. Lots of commentators have hit the high points about this bizarre filing: First, four DOJ career attorneys withdrew from the case in its wake. Second, the Department of Justice doesn’t – just doesn’t – file updated sentencing memoranda that ask…
By Sara Kropf In most white-collar cases, intent is the key issue. The government generally has to prove that the defendant intentionally acted to break the law and it wasn’t simply a mistake or an oversight. Circumstantial evidence is enough to prove intent, and, at trial, prosecutors routinely argue to juries that they can infer criminal intent from the defendant’s acts. For example, take a wire fraud case based on  misleading statements made to investors…
By Sara Kropf Taint teams are dubious at best. A taint team is a group of government agents or prosecutors selected to review material seized through a search warrant to determine whether any of the material is protected by the attorney-client privilege. If it is, then the team segregates the privileged material to ensure that the prosecuting team doesn’t see it. We’ve written before about taint teams here and here. Taint teams are intended…
By Dan Portnov 2019 ended with Congress trying to tackle insider trading but 2020 begins with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals once again commanding center stage in defining the elements of the offense. In United States v. Blaszczak (issued on December 30, but no one was paying attention), the court considered insider trading charges based under a newer criminal securities fraud law: Title 18 Section 1348. The Blaszcak decision made clear that the Second…
By Sara Kropf We had a big year at Law Office of Sara Kropf. The biggest news is that we don’t exist anymore. Not to worry, though. Andrea Moseley joined the firm, and we are now Kropf Moseley PLLC. With three lawyers, we are practically a legal empire. We’re still trying to convince Andrea to write for the blog, and hopefully she’ll do a post or two this year. Andrea handles white-collar criminal matters, as…
By Dan Portnov Not busy enough with impeachment in the run up to the holidays, the U.S. House of Representatives on December 5 passed a bipartisan bill to prohibit insider trading. The Insider Trading Prohibition Act passed by a vote of 410 to 13 and now awaits a Senate vote and then, if passed, a review by the President. This is not the first time that Congress has sought to explicitly ban insider trading by…
By Sara Kropf Back in September 2018, I wrote about how Michael Cohen was pleading guilty without the benefit of a cooperation agreement. I said that it was possible that the government would later file a Rule 35 motion, seeking a reduction in his sentence based on his later cooperation. I was about half right. On December 11, 2019, Mr. Cohen filed a Rule 35 motion himself. He seeks a reduction of his 36-month sentence…
By Dan Portnov On Friday, November 8, 2019, Lawrence Hoskins was convicted of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.[1] The jury verdict, delivered on a Friday afternoon in Connecticut, barely made the national news (the bar has been set higher these days), but in the FCPA world it was a huge victory for the government. Hoskins was found guilty as an agent of a French company’s U.S. subsidiary. So why was this prosecution so…
By Sara Kropf There seems to be a disturbing trend by Department of Justice attorneys to encourage defense counsel to disqualify themselves based on a supposed “conflict of interest” without disclosing to defense counsel why the prosecutor thinks a conflict exists. Let me explain how this issue arises. In a grand jury investigation involving a company, the government may be simultaneously investigating the company and some combination of its directors, officers, or employees. The company…
By Dan Portnov You know that it’s been a busy month in law enforcement news when a speech and memo announcement by DOJ Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Brian Benczkowski concerning corporate criminal penalties arrives with little fanfare. It must be something about an impeachment inquiry, I guess. On October 8th, AAG Benczkowski rolled out a memo detailing DOJ’s policy for corporations settling criminal charges that are unable to pay the attendant criminal fines.…