Monday, March 31, 2008

Call Out the Cops-5

"Melvyn Weiss, who built a reputation and fortune filing lawsuits that claimed companies had defrauded investors, agreed to plead guility to participating in a criminal conspiracy that helped his firm to bring the lucrative cases. ... The plea agreement carries a sentence of 18 to 33 months in prison, and Mr. Weiss has agreed to pay $10 million in fines and penalties. The government says it expects to seek the maximum sentence. ... In an unusual move, prosecutors in 2006 charged the law firm itself, as well as two senior partners at the firm who have since pleaded guilty. ... In discussions last year, the government sought $50 million, [from the firm] according to these people", WSJ, 21 March 2008.

"On March 16, the Wall Street merger experts at Lazard Ltd. gave Bear Stearns Cos. [BS] directors a written assurance that $2 a share was a fair price for the company, which was then teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Eight days later, Monday, the same bankers at Lazard, told the same [BS] board that $10 a share--fives times as much--also was fair. ... Critics of such 'fairness opinion' letters, commonly used to justify prices for acquisitions of public companies, jumped on the first Lazard letter as evidence that such opinions give shareholders little protection against low-ball bids. Israel Shaked, a finance professor at the Boston University School of Management, says he believes 'the opinion and process in general are nothing more than a rubber stamp on the transaction,'," WSJ, 25 March 2008.

"As the U.S. government Tuesday tried to salvage its high-profile criminal-tax prosecution against former executives of KPMG LLP, appeals judges in Manhattan repeatedly called into question prosecutors' position on the case. In a two-hour hearing before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, a lawyer for the government said prosecutors in Manhattan didn't coerce accounting firm KPMG to refuse to pay legal costs fot 13 former executives charged with selling and marketing illegal tax shelters. ...Karl Metzner, the prosecutor who argued the appeal for the government ... added that, in general, 'The government has no legitimate interest in impairing the quality or quantity of a defense.' At the hearing, Judge Jacobs said he couldn't 'reconcile those two positions'," WSJ, 26 March 2008.

The (In)Justice Department stinks from Los Angeles to New York. It's a coast-to-coast source of injustice. $50 million? I've seen that amount before. Yes, it's what a Houston US Attorney wants from BP! Wait, doesn't BP make $22 billion a year? What do the Feds allege was Millberg Weiss (MW) comparable amount? Why might the Feds indict MW? Why not Mayer Brown, see my 22 and 27 December 2007 posts. Don't tell me no AUSA wants to work for MW and say, at least a dozen seek positions at Mayer Brown. No, no, no! Don't think such a thing. For shame, not to believe all federal employees only look out for the public's welfare.

During the "infamous" 1994-95 OJ trial, Barry Scheck cross examined Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran (LS), Los Angeles County Coroner, who said at various times, one, two then one knife was used to kill Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Scheck asked LS what new facts came to his attention to make him change his mind back to his original position. At that point LS turned to Marcia Clark in stupified silence! Beautiful cross examination. Perry Mason, 1957-66, or my father, now deceased, also an attorney, couldn't have done it better. This was right out of Francis Wellman's The Art of Cross Examination, 1903. A classic. Buy a copy, it's available in paperback. Read, enjoy, think. Scheck ended his cross examination without having his question answered. Why raise this now? Mike Garcia (MG), assuming you are merely incompetent, why not indict Lazard and the Lazard bankers for securities fraud? Let them explain what new facts came to their attention during the eight days in question. I think they have the burden of production, similar to that in a tax evasion prosecution using the "net worth reconstruction" method. Hey MG, here's the reference: Holland v US, 348 US 121 (1954). Now MG, the maxim of jurisprudence is: if the reason is the same, the rule is the same. Got it Mike? Get going! Do something for the public for a change. Tell us how it feels. PS Mike: US means it's a Supreme Court case. It's authoritative.

It's all right Judge Jacobs. What can you expect from MG's office? Doublethink! The Bush administration's (In)Justice Department lives in Orwell's 1984!

No comments: