Friday, November 23, 2007

Ashcroft's Bounty

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the benefits of the previous year, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft may well be counting quite a few of them from his appointment as an outside monitor for Zimmer Holdings, Inc.  The company was one of four medical device makers that entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (here) with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey in September 2007 that included the now-standard provision requiring the appointment of an outside monitor.  According to a Newark Star-Ledger column (here), U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie approved the appointments of the monitors that included two former U.S. Attorney's and his former boss at the Department of Justice.  The Ashcroft Group LLC, which advertises itself on its website (here) as specializing "in strategic consulting for corporations worldwide in homeland security, corporate governance, litigation strategy, and data security," expects to charge Zimmer somewhere between $29 million and $52 million for the eighteen months that the firm acts as a monitor.  That's not a bad payday, and Zimmer -- like every other company that enters into a deferred or non-prosecution agreement -- can hardly object to the fees lest it look uncooperative and bring down the wrath of the U.S. Attorney's Office.  So much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving. (ph)

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