August 28, 2008
A Judge as Lobbyist
The Justice Department announced today the reversal of its company prosecution guidelines. No longer will a company's decision to fund legal fees of indicted executive officers or a company's decision to stand on attorney client privilege to protect indicted executive officers be considered in whether or not to indict the company itself. This is a victory for Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the Southern District of New York. Judge Kaplan dismissed charges against 13 of the defendants in a major tax-shelter prosecution against KPMG, saying, among other things, that prosecutors had violated the constitutional rights of KPMG officers by pressuring the company to cut off paying legal fees over $1 million. The constitutional argument was bunk, of course, but it did not matter. He had a point to make. For those who believe the constitution contains a "right to fairness in all things," the attack gave a public argument to an argument otherwise floated by the defense bar and and the executives of companies who wanted to do business with each other using the company's cash. For those who wonders why Judges get carried away with dicta on social justice in their opinions? It works.
August 28, 2008 | Permalink
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