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Defense to Rest in Dewey LeBoeuf Case without Calling Witnesses
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Although the trial was expected to last several more months, it appears that the jury may begin deliberations in the Dewey & LeBoeuf trial as early as next week.

Summary: Although the trial was expected to last several more months, it appears that the jury may begin deliberations in the Dewey & LeBoeuf trial as early as next week.

In a decision that has shocked many around the world, the defense attorneys in the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal trial have decided to rest its case on Tuesday—without calling one witness to support their arguments. It is also predicted, according to the New York Times, that the defense team will revive a request for the judge to dismiss the case, a common occurrence at the end of trials.

  
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The prosecution rested its case last week.

The trial began late in May. Prosecutors have presented mountains of evidence and testimony from dozens of witnesses, arguing that three former executives of the once-elite law firm used accounting tricks to defraud lenders and creditors.

Before the case goes to the jury for deliberation, prosecutors noted that some of the criminal charges against the defendants may be dismissed. According to American Lawyer, 47 charges might be dropped.

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Attorneys for the defendants told Justice Robert M. Stolz on Thursday that they planned to go directly to closing arguments after court resumes following Labor Day Weekend.

Austin Campriello, the attorney for Stephen DiCarmine, the firm’s former executive director, said, “The people haven’t proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.” The remaining two defendants are Steven H. Davis, the former chairman, and Joel Sanders, the former chief financial officer.



Campriello

Campriello

Campriello, a partner with Bryan Cave, said that attorneys for all the defendants told the judge that they did not plan to call any witnesses during a discussion about jury instructions.

Prosecutors have argued that Dewey employees were aware of fraud within the firm.

Elkan Abramowitz, an attorney for Davis, said that it is not always necessary to call defense witnesses “if you can prove your defense through cross-examination.” According to a separate article from the American Lawyer, the defendants’ intent, rather than the accounting practices themselves, may be key to the case.

Abramowitz

Abramowitz

However, the decision was surprising to many, since the prosecution has called over 40 witnesses to testify about a range of issues, including mind-numbing law firm accounting procedures.

Many feel that deciding not to call any witnesses is risky. However, the move may also strengthen the defense team’s arguments that the prosecution’s case has holes in it, and that it is based primarily on statements from cooperating witnesses. Those cooperating witnesses have entered guilty pleas so that they hopefully will receive no prison time.

Francis Canellas, a cooperating witness, came under fire during his testimony, which lasted over a week.

In 2014, Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders were charged with multiple counts of fraud, falsifying business records, and larceny. The indictment included excerpts of emails that were sent by the three attorneys, which allegedly demonstrated a scheme to hide the financial failure of the firm from banks and insurers that had lent the firm money or invested in a $150 million bond offering.

Zachary Warren was also charged in the scheme. He worked as a client relations manager, and will be tried after the current trial is over.

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Dewey shut down in a 2012 bankruptcy. Prior to its collapse, it employed over 1,200 attorneys and generated $1 billion in gross revenue. During the financial downturn, the firm began to struggle, primarily due to a loss of mergers and acquisitions work. Salary obligations to senior partners hurt the firm as well.

The defense has tried to weaken the prosecutions’ arguments by suggesting that the accounting tricks used by the firm provided it with only a few million dollars.

The trial was expected to last six months. However, it will now probably conclude much earlier. Jurors are no doubt relieved, as the judge warned them that they may not begin deliberating until November. Now, however, they may begin deliberating next week.

Source: New York Times

Photo credit: American Lawyer, New York Law Journal (Campriello) NY Post (Abramowitz)



 

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