Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Use or Abuse of Joint Defense Agreements: Which Is It for Manafort and Trump? (11/28/18)

I have previously written on joint defense agreements, both generally and in relationship to the special counsel investigation.  I collect the more pertinent prior blog entries related to Trump at the end of this blog entry.  I post this blog today because of the startling developments where Manafort's lawyers shared the information from Manafort's supposed / feigned cooperation with Trump's lawyers, a truly startling development.

I offer an excellent opinion piece: Ken White, Why Did Manafort Cooperate With Trump Over Mueller? (NYT 11/28/18), here.  Mr. White is (per the bio on the bottom):  "a former federal prosecutor, is a criminal defense lawyer and First Amendment litigator at Brown White & Osborn in Los Angeles, and a host of 'All the President’s Lawyers,' on radio station KCRW."  I have worked extensively and written on joint defense agreements and believe that Mr. White's discussion is spot on.  Highly recommended.

Here are the pertinent prior blogs (in reverse chronological order):
  • All the President's Joint Defense Agreements (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 10/8/18), here.
  • On Trump, Manafort and Joint Defense Agreements (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 9/14/18; 9/15/18), here.
  • More On Joint Defense Agreements (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 5/15/18), here.
  • On Joint Defense Agreements (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 11/23/17), here.
As an aside, the biggest case in which I was involved with was a case that spawned many great opinions, but the principal opinion in the case was United States v. Stein, 541 F.3d 130 (2d Cir. 2008), here (notice how many lawyers were for the defendants in the case).  I was quite familiar with JDAs before the Stein case, but dealt with JDAs in great nuance in that case.  The fun fact of particular interest in the case was that the prosecution team included Kevin Downing of DOJ Tax Division (where I used to work) at the trial level.  Kevin Downing is Manafort's lawyer (his picture is prominently displayed in the linked article.)  Let's just say that he was not an easy guy for me to deal with then.  Still, he is smart and very aggressive.  Of course, for those taking the trouble to read the opinion, the prosecution's aggressiveness resulted in 13 defendants in the sprawling tax evasion case having their prosecutions dismissed for prosecutorial abuse.

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