Saturday, July 7, 2018

Gina L. Bianchi Sues DCJS Commissioner Michael C Green and Others After She was Terminated For Cooperating With DCJS

Brian Gestring, director of Forensic Science Office for DCJS, and a members of the New York State Forensic Science Commission, takes part in a commission meeting on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union)

Attorney who was fired for cooperating with inspector general files lawsuit

ALBANY — A female attorney who was terminated from her job at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services for cooperating in a sexual harassment investigation filed a federal lawsuit Friday accusing the agency's leader of covering up the allegations against a former forensics director.
The civil rights lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by Gina L. Bianchi against DCJS Commissioner Michael C. Green and two other agency leaders, general counsel John Czajka and human resources director Karen Davis.
The lawsuit also targets state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, whose office conducted the harassment investigation of former DCJS director Brian J. Gestring, and subsequently turned over Bianchi's confidential testimony to the agency without her knowledge.
The decision by Green last December to terminate Bianchi — after interrogating her for more than two hours with a copy of her testimony from the inspector general's office — has resonated across state agencies and left many workers saying they no longer feel safe cooperating with Leahy Scott's office.
Leahy Scott's decision and Green's actions have not been questioned by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has declined comment.
The lawsuit notes that Green took no action against Gestring, who was found to have engaged in years of sexual harassment, racism, ageism and workplace violence.
A DCJS spokeswoman on Friday declined comment and said they have not been served with a copy of the lawsuit. A spokesman for Leahy Scott also declined to comment.
Bianchi's lawsuit said that Green, who had counseled Gestring in 2012 for workplace misconduct, told her repeatedly during the December interrogation that she should have been more evasive in her testimony to the inspector general's office, "with a statement that was, in sum or substance, 'I do not have a specific fact upon which to base an answer to your question.'"
Bianchi said that in 2012, not longer after Gestring was hired as director of the agency's Office of Forensic Science, that Green removed Gestring from her supervision. The move took place after Bianchi had documented Gestring's alleged misconduct in a counseling memo. When she subsequently reported additional acts of inappropriate behavior by Gestring, the complaint states, Green did nothing and told her to "stay out of OFS" — a reference to Gestring's office.
"The actions taken by defendants have been taken with the intention to chill the speech of plaintiff, as well as the speech of all DCJS employees — and, indeed, all state employees generally — who might consider complaining of, and/or testifying about, civil rights and other violations," the complaint states.
The agency's decision to punish Bianchi and another female employee who testified about Gestring's alleged misconduct was exposed by the Times Union in a story published on March 18. Cuomo's office subsequently issued a statement saying the governor had asked the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics to conduct another investigation — the fourth investigation of the case by a state agency. The probe by JCOPE has languished and Bianchi and the other female employee, Kimberly Schiavone, have not been interviewed by its investigators.
Bianchi and Schiavone, who was transferred out of the forensic science office against her wishes after she filed a complaint against Gestring, were later ordered by DCJS officials to move into smaller offices — including one that was formerly a closet. DCJS then rescinded its directive against Bianchi not long after the Times Union asked what had prompted the decision.
The lawsuit claims that employees who cooperated with Leahy Scott's investigation of Gestring last year "were specifically told, and/or understood, that the sworn testimony they provided would be confidential.  ... It is not the standard or routine practice of the office of the New York state inspector general to release tapes or transcripts of state employees' testimony to those employees' supervisors, or to agency heads, or to agency counsels in connection with the inspector general's investigations."
Gestring was abruptly fired March 23 for what the agency said was an unrelated complaint involving inappropriate comments made at an off-site training seminar in June 2017. Sources familiar with that allegation said the incident took place during a DNA training session at the State Police crime laboratory, where Gestring allegedly had made a vulgar remark as the group examined a rape case involving young children. A female State Police scientist filed a complaint about his remark, but the agency took no action.
The investigation of Gestring revealed a history of offensive and inappropriate behavior that began shortly after he started working for DCJS in July 2012. Records indicate that about four months after Gestring was hired, he received two counseling memos for misbehavior. Gestring signed the memos certifying that he had read them, but added handwritten notes claiming he disagreed with the findings, had been forced to sign them, and that staff at DCJS had "agendas," according to details of the inspector general's investigation shared with the Times Union.
Leahy Scott's investigators, who obtained sworn testimony from multiple DCJS employees, said they were also told that Gestring had once encouraged a female manager to file fraudulent sexual harassment charges against a male colleague in an apparent effort to have him terminated. The woman refused.
In October, Leahy Scott and her deputy inspector general, Spencer Freedman, met with Czajka, DCJS's top legal counsel, and Green to outline the findings of their investigation.
Leahy Scott, who was appointed inspector general by Cuomo in 2013, followed up the October meeting with a five-page letter to DCJS on Dec. 6 outlining the findings of her office's investigation. The letter recommended the agency take action against Gestring and two other officials accused of mishandling the allegations, First Deputy Commissioner Mark Bonacquist and Davis, the human resources director.
The agency did not take action against those employees. Instead, DCJS said it had conducted its own investigation and could not sustain the allegations against Gestring.

Bianchi, an attorney who has worked at DCJS for 24 years, was terminated by Green a day before Leahy Scott's report — in the form of a letter — was sent to Green. It's unclear why Leahy Scott outlined her findings in a letter rather than a report, which are normally made public.
Although Bianchi was terminated, she was able to fall back into a lower-paying job with the agency due to state hiring regulations, but took a $44,000-a-year pay cut.
Schiavone had filed a workplace violence complaint against Gestring last August, but the agency did not follow up and never interviewed her about the complaint, said John W. Bailey, who is the attorney for Schiavone and Bianchi.
In a prior statement, DCJS said its decision last December to terminate Bianchi and transfer Schiavone were "appropriate actions ... to maintain the appropriate work environment at DCJS."

Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, in Federal Court, Testifies That He Needed To Help His Son Adam

Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos leaves Manhattan Federal Court during his retrial on
extortion and bribery charges on Friday. (Jefferson Siegel / New York Daily News)
Dean Skelos, formerly one of the most powerful men in Albany, testified in his defense in the corruption case currently unfolding in Federal Court. He says he was a good dad, only trying to help his troubled son Adam.

We all want to help our kids. But using threats and a public office to make sure that someone obeys is another matter.

Put father and son in jail for a long time. Teach other politicos a lesson in dealing with private matters while in public office.

That is my two cents.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Disgraced pol Dean Skelos testifies in federal trial he was just trying to help troubled son

JUL 06, 2018

He was a good dad with a bad son.

Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos took the witness stand Friday at his federal corruption retrial to admit, yes, he pulled a few strings for his ne’er-do-well son — but no favorable legislation was advanced in exchange.

The former Albany bigwig, who’s accused of soliciting bribes and extorting businesses to employ his slacker son, Adam, explained what he did for the love of his kid.
“Quite frankly, I’ve asked a lot of people to help my son,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to ask (somebody) to help Adam, I would.”

But the disgraced ex pol said he never threatened or intimidated anyone for the favors, almost laughing off the insinuation under questioning.

The Long Island Republican — once one of the three powerful men who decided how the state budget would be spent — told the court about his decades-long political career, his son’s behavioral problems from a young age and their close-knit father and son relationship. Skelos cut a confident figure, wearing a beige suit and a blue tie, and cracking more than one joke during his testimony.

The fallen legislator said he and his adopted son, 35, had a impenetrable bond from the get-go, which he partially attributed to his wife leaving in 1982.

“(Life circumstances) changed — number one, I lost my election,” he said. “But also the marriage did not work out, and for a while, I was the primary caregiver of Adam.”

Skelos, 70, said he would take his baby boy to political events, even holding him up on stage when he gave speeches. Offstage, Adam Skelos grew up struggling in school and with behavioral problems, he said.

“We would discuss school. We would discuss our personal lives. Adam had certain issues he was dealing with,” Skelos said. When the boy was 7 or 8, his dad enrolled him in special-education classes for reading and language, where he remained for four or five years. Skelos said he tried to be a positive force in his son’s life, telling him, “Move forward — have confidence in yourself, do the right thing.”

By the time Adam Skelos reached his early 20s, drug and alcohol addiction became a bigger issue.

“What I would always try to do is manage him through those issues,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than being a parent.”

Skelos didn’t shy away from talking about his son’s temper.

“His temperament, sometimes he could get a bit abrasive,” he said. “It could get a little ugly.”

For all his close parenting, Skelos wasn’t able to instill a strong work ethic in his son.

Anthony Bonomo, a medical malpractice CEO who hired Adam Skelos at his father’s request, complained about the son not coming to work.

“He called me and indicated that Adam was not performing well — that he wasn’t showing up the way he felt he should,” the former senator told the court.

Instead of addressing it himself, Skelos said he kicked the problem back to Bonomo, who he said had been a friend for 30 years. He told the insurance executive, “If there’s any way you could remediate the problem, it would be nice.”

His lawyer, Robert Gage asked about his tone.

“Certainly not threatening,” he said. “I think what he heard was my frustration with Adam.”

Adam Skelos, center

Monday, January 1, 2018

Attorney Evan Greebel is Convicted of Helping Felon Martin Shkreli Defraud Retrophin

Evan Greebel, center, leaving court in 2015. After his conviction on Wednesday, he faces
up to 20 years in prison. 
CreditJohn Taggart/Bloomberg

Martin Shkreli, former hedge fund manager, and convicted, incarcerated felon, is held by most Americans in contempt for raising the price of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim to $750 a pill, from $13.50. Now his lawyer Evan Greebel has been indicted for helping Mr. Shkreli in the scheme to defraud Shkreki's former pharmaceutical company, Retrophin.

Truly a pair of greedy turds, in my opinion.

Betsy Combier
Editor, Advocatz
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Martin Shkreli’s Ex-Lawyer Is Convicted of Fraud

A lawyer who once advised the former drug company executive Martin Shkreli was convicted on Wednesday of helping Mr. Shkreli defraud a pharmaceutical company.

The lawyer, Evan Greebel, who was outside counsel to Mr. Shkreli’s former drug company, Retrophin, was found guilty by a jury in Brooklyn of charges he conspired to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, prosecutors said.

“We are shocked by the verdict,” said Reed Brodsky, a lawyer for Mr. Greebel. “We will continue to fight for justice for Evan Greebel and his family.”

A different jury found Mr. Shkreli guilty in August of defrauding hedge fund investors, but cleared him of conspiring with Mr. Greebel to steal from Retrophin.
Bridget Rohde
The acting United States attorney in Brooklyn, Bridget Rohde, said the verdict sent a message to lawyers that they would be held accountable when they “use their legal expertise to facilitate the commission of crime.”

She added, “By helping Retrophin C.E.O. Martin Shkreli steal millions of dollars and cover up Shkreli’s fraud, the defendant Evan Greebel betrayed the trust placed in him by Retrophin’s board of directors to represent the company’s best interests.”

Mr. Shkreli, 34, became notorious in 2015 when, as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he raised the price of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim to $750 a pill, from $13.50. The price increase was unrelated to the criminal case. He is awaiting sentencing on the fraud conviction.

The charges he and Mr. Greebel faced were related to Mr. Shkreli’s management of, Retrophin and of two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, from 2009 to 2014.

Prosecutors have said that Mr. Shkreli lied about the funds’ finances to lure investors and concealed devastating trading losses. They said he paid investors back with money and shares stolen from Retrophin, which he founded in 2011.

Mr. Greebel was charged with assisting Mr. Shkreli in defrauding Retrophin through a series of settlement and sham consulting agreements.

In September, after his conviction, Mr. Shkreli was jailed after he offered a $5,000 reward in a posting on Facebook for a strand of hair from the former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. That prompted United States District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to revoke his bail.

Mr. Greebel denied wrongdoing, and at trial, his lawyers sought to distance their client from Mr. Shkreli, whose provocative public behavior earned him the nickname “pharma bro.”

Mr. Brodsky told jurors during his opening statement that Mr. Shkreli lied to Mr. Greebel just as he had lied to investors.

Mr. Greebel was also accused of conspiring with Mr. Shkreli to exercise secret control over Retrophin shares belonging to several other shareholders. Mr. Shkreli was found guilty of that charge during his trial.

William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director-in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York field office, said investment fraud remained a priority.

“While it’s become increasingly more evident that Greebel exploited his knowledge of the law in his efforts to break the law, today we finally see justice served in a case that’s spent no shortage of its time in the spotlight,” Mr. Sweeney said.

When he is sentenced, Mr. Greebel faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Greebel, 44, was a partner at the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman when he was working for Retrophin. He later joined the firm Kaye Scholer, but resigned after his arrest in December 2015.
Evan Greebel and Martin Shkreli
Indicted Kaye Scholer Partner Resigns

Biglaw partner Evan Greebel is in Biglaw no more.

Remember how there was a Biglaw partner caught up in the whole Martin Shkreli securities fraud mess? While the rest of the world celebrated the downfall of the massive douchebag that rose to infamy by raising the price of a life-saving pill, Daraprim, by 5,000% (from $13.50 to $750), over in our little corner of the internet, there was plenty of schadenfreude-laced glee over the fact that a Kaye Scholer partner, Evan Greebel, got arrested alongside his former client. (Greebel represented Shkreli while at Katten Muchin, where he worked for more than a decade before joining Kaye Scholer.)
Though Greebel was still gainfully employed in Biglaw back in December, it seems that is no longer the case. As Law360 reports:
Evan Greebel, who remained a partner at Kaye Scholer despite being indicted for allegedly funneling cash from biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc. to investors in hedge funds founded by Shkreli, is no longer a partner at the firm, according to spokeswoman Andrea Orzehoski.
As for the exact date of Greebel’s resignation, Orzehoski would only say that it was recent and declined to discuss the results of the firm’s internal investigation of the attorney. Orzehoski said last month that upon conclusion of the probe, “the firm will take appropriate action.”
That isn’t the only shake-up in the notable case — he’s also made a change at the counsel’s table. With the means to hire the best of the best and the experience to know the big players in the white-collar world, Greebel initially tapped a well-known boutique, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, and partners Jonathan Sack and Benjamin Fischer. But all that is different now:
Gibson Dunn partner Reed Brodsky told the court on Feb. 8 that he will be defending Greebel against the criminal charges. Gibson Dunn partner Joel M. Cohen and counsel Lisa H. Rubin were also added to Greebel’s defense team, according to court records.
On Friday, Jonathan S. Sack and Benjamin S. Fischer of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC were allowed to withdraw as co-counsel for Greebel, leaving Gibson Dunn as Greebel’s only attorneys.
White-collar enthusiasts may remember Brodsky for his former role in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, where he was lead prosecutor in the conviction of Rajat Gupta on insider trading charges. Though he is now on the other side of the room, this case is sure to reverberate in the legal world.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Judge Alex Kozinski Retires Suddenly After Being Accused By Many Women of Sexual Misconduct

Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, pictured in 2003. Six women — all former clerks or externs in the 9th Circuit — alleged to The Washington Post in recent weeks that Kozinski, now 67, subjected them to a range of inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. (Paul Sakuma/AP)
One down, and all the rest of the judges we know who are corrupt should be worried. But we know they are not.
Judicial corruption is rampant in America, and the quick departure of Judge Kozinski gives us at least some hope that more people in the judicial arena will follow.


Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is Accused by Six Women of Sexual Misconduct


Betsy Combier

Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski
Judge Alex Kozinski, Apologizing Amid Harassment Claims, Retires Immediately
Federal appeals judge Alex Kozinski, beset by allegations of sexual misconduct, on Monday announced his retirement effective immediately.
By Marcia Coyle | December 18, 2017 at 09:40 AM | Originally published on The Recorder

Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski
Federal appeals judge Alex Kozinski, beset by allegations of sexual misconduct, on Monday announced his retirement effective immediately.
The Washington Post reported Friday evening that nine women, in addition to six who earlier lodged allegations against the longtime Ninth Circuit judge, accused him of making inappropriate comments. Four of the women claim he touched them inappropriately.
Those allegations followed action by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. on Friday in which he transferred a complaint initiated by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas to the Second Circuit. The Judicial Council of the Second Circuit would have overseen the misconduct investigation.
In a statement released by his lawyer, Susan Estrich of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Kozinski said he “always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike. In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize.”
Kozinski said family and friends had urged him to remain on the bench, at least long enough to defend himself from the sexual misconduct allegations.
“But I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle,” he said in the statement. “Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary. And so I am making the decision to retire, effective immediately.”
Kozinski was appointed to the appeals court in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. He served as chief judge from November 2007 until December 2014.
Kozinski’s full statement is posted below:
It has been an unparalleled honor to serve as a federal judge for more than thirty-five years. I firmly believe that a strong judiciary, free from political pressures, is vital to the preservation of this great nation. I found in this country, and in my work, opportunities and satisfaction that I never thought imaginable when I arrived here, at the age of 12, a refugee from Communism. I am grateful to my colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of serving, and to the countless hard-working lawyers who have appeared before me. I have learned so much from them all and will be forever grateful for their professionalism, intellectual rigor, and in many instances their steadfast friendship.
It has also been my privilege to help train the best and the brightest of several generations of new attorneys. I was made better by working with them. My clerks went on to stellar careers in law, business and academics. Their success has made me proud and I am gratified by the outpouring of support I have received privately from so many of them.
Still, I’ve always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike. In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. 
For this I sincerely apologize.
A couple of years ago, as I reached the age when several of my colleagues had decided to take senior status or retire, I began considering whether the time had come for me to move on as well.  Family and friends have urged me to stay on, at least long enough to defend myself. But I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle. Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary. And so I am making the decision to retire, effective immediately.
Read more:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Story Now is Attorney David Boies, the New York Times, and the RICO Lawsuit

I find it interesting that the New York Times had a "relationship" with David Boies' law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

What does it mean the NYT had a relationship with a major law firm and one which covered up Harvey Weinstein's actions?

Betsy Combier

David Boies

The New York Times said late Tuesday that it had ended its relationship with David Boies and his firm after new details emerged about Boies’ work for Harvey Weinstein.
By Miriam Rozen | November 07, 2017 | Originally published on The American Lawyer

UPDATE: The New York Times said Tuesday night that it had “terminated its relationship” with Boies Schiller Flexner. The paper’s statement said in part: “We never contemplated that the law firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and our reporters. Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm. Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.” Our earlier story is below.
In a message to lawyers and employees at his firm on Tuesday, David Boies said that Harvey Weinstein is no longer a client, and that Boies “would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else.”

But law school ethics professors said that multiple questions arise for Boies in the wake of a New Yorker report that the Boies Schiller Flexner chairman contracted with former Israeli Mossad agents to stymie efforts by The New York Times to expose Weinstein’s pattern of alleged sexual harassment.
“These are all serious issues. David Boies has a great reputation. I’m not going to say he crossed the line, but there are some serious issues,” said Laurie Levenson, a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Top among those issues, according to Levenson: Could Boies’ actions on Weinstein’s behalf have deterred women from coming forward, potentially even skirting the line of suppressing witness testimony?
Levenson said The New Yorker article also raises questions about Boies’ adherence to obligations to clients and former clients about confidentiality, and about potential conflicts of interest if his work for Weinstein undermined the work of the Times, which was also a Boies Schiller client.
Boies did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Tuesday. In his email to staff, Boies said his firm’s engagement letter with the newspaper “made clear that we needed to be able to continue to represent clients adverse to the Times on matters unrelated to the work we were doing for the Times.”
“There is a lot coming at us fast and furious here,” Levenson cautioned. And she noted that a fine line separates lawyers’ efforts to determine what allegations they may face on the one hand, and actual suppression of witness testimony on the other.
Almost immediately after The New Yorker story was posted, The New York Times lashed out at Boies, whose firm represented the newspaper in two pending matters and a third that has been concluded, according to a Times spokeswoman.
“We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters. We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies,” the Times said late Monday.
Levenson said the conflicts question is “attenuated,” since Boies was not representing the newspaper on a matter directly related to Weinstein. But, she said, “Clearly he has a client who feels like he was playing both sides.”
In his own statement on Tuesday, Boies described what he told Weinstein when he learned about the Times running a story with allegations about the movie producer’s predatory behavior to women:
“I told Mr. Weinstein at that time that neither I nor the firm would represent him in this matter, and he hired several other lawyers to represent him. I also told Mr. Weinstein that the Times story could not be stopped through threats or influence; the only way that the story could be stopped was by proving it was not true.
Mr. Weinstein, together with the lawyers representing him, selected private investigators to assist him and drafted a contract. He asked me to execute the contract on his behalf. I was told at the time that the purposes of hiring the private investigators were to ascertain exactly what the actress was accusing Mr. Weinstein of having done, and when, and to try to find facts that would prove the charge to be false and thereby stop the story. I did not (nor did the firm) select the investigators (at least one of which had been used by Mr. Weinstein previously) or direct their work; that was done by Mr. Weinstein and his other counsel.”
Such a fulsome account of what Boies told a client and what that client asked raises questions about client confidentiality, Levenson said. “Has he been revealing confidential information, information he learned by helping a client on a case?” she asked.
Ronald Minkoff, a partner in Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz who leads the firm’s professional responsibility group, raised a separate concern about the activities of the investigators Boies hired. He said they appeared to engage in “pretexting,” or contacting people under false pretexts and identities. “It’s pretty clear that is something to avoid,” he said.
He suggested that Boies retained the investigators, rather than Weinstein doing so directly, to keep the information they gained under attorney-client privilege protections. Because Boies signed the contract, Minkoff said, “He was responsible for them.”
“He was either not supervising them and they were off doing things they should not be doing. Or he was supervising them. Either way, he was not steering the ship the way he should have been,” Minkoff said.
Deborah Rhode, who directs the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School, offered an even harsher assessment.
“What was he thinking? This is a clear violation of ethical rules and ethical norms to run opposition research on a current client,” Rhode said.
Boies’ statement that he did not supervise the investigators “is a mitigating factor,” not necessarily an entirely persuasive one though, she said.
“You have to have known that if you are working with organizations like those, there will be ethical issues,” she said.
If there’s a broader lesson based on what’s known so far, said Loyola’s Levenson, it’s that there are limits to client service.
“The biggest problem is getting sucked in by a client,” she said. “You might put on blinders and take risks you wouldn’t ordinarily take and not look as closely at ethical issues.”

Will Biglaw Firms Get Caught In The Weinstein RICO Lawsuit?

Which firms could be involved?

Harvey Weinstein, David Boies
| December 06, 2017

newly filed racketeering lawsuit claims several law firms, including K&L Gates and Boies Schiller Flexner, were key participants in an alleged scheme to cover up widespread sexual misconduct on the part of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Six women, represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, filed a proposed class action in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, accusing Weinstein, the Weinstein Co., the company’s board members, Miramax Film Corp. and others of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The complaint parallels a similar one filed last month in California, with both complaints alleging that advisers and others in Weinstein’s orbit—referred to as members of a “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise”—helped “facilitate and conceal” a pattern of unwanted sexual conduct perpetrated by the film producer.

Prominent litigator David Boies and his law firm Boies Schiller had already been in the public spotlight over his work for Weinstein following a New Yorker report that the lawyer contracted with an Israeli private intelligence agency, Black Cube, as it was trying to derail a potential New York Times story about Weinstein’s predatory behavior toward women. That scrutiny continued this week when Boies’ actions came up again in a lengthy New York Times article looking at people who helped Weinstein keep his misconduct under wraps.
But the successive RICO suits also suggest that the fallout from the Weinstein scandal is expanding to include other legal advisers.
Although it does not specifically name lawyers or law firms as defendants, Wednesday’s complaint casts the lawyers and law firms surrounding Weinstein—including Boies Schiller, K&L Gates, U.K.-based BCL Burton Copeland, and Israel-based Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co.—as central figures in the alleged scheme to cover up his misconduct. The firms are described as “co-conspirators” along with others that included Weinstein’s business associates and private intelligence firms.
“The law firm participants provided cover and shield to the Weinstein participants by contracting with the intelligence participants on behalf of the Weinstein participants and permitting the Weinstein participants to protect evidence of Weinstein’s misconduct under the guise of the attorney-client privilege or the doctrine of attorney work product when that was not the case,” the complaint said. “The law firm participants also approved the intelligence participants’ ‘operational methodologies,’ which were illegal.”
In an emailed statement on Thursday, K&L Gates described the complaint’s allegations about the firm as untrue and denied that it ever worked for Weinstein.
“We are aware of the lawsuits filed against Harvey Weinstein and others that mention K&L Gates. K&L Gates is not named as a defendant in the lawsuits but the suits attempt to claim that the firm was involved in a scheme to facilitate or cover up Mr. Weinstein’s activities. The claims relating to K&L Gates are false. K&L Gates has never represented Mr. Weinstein or any other person or entity concerning investigations or inquiries relating to Mr. Weinstein,” the firm’s statement said.
Representatives for the other law firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Previously, Boies Schiller provided a statement to affiliate publication The Recorder indicating that it would refrain from commenting on Weinstein-related matters in connection with a request from the producer’s current defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.