The Media’s Impact on Prosecutorial Decision-Making

Synopsis

Featuring a presentation by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, this course focuses on the prosecution of white collar crime and the media's role in the judicial process. Preet Bharara, named "One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World," by Time magazine speaks on several topics, including the need for the creation of a cyber security strategy with corporate clients. The panel discussion presents all sides in the prosecution/media/defense relationship triangle, including the ways in which the media brings pressure to bear on prosecutors and regulators. Representing defense attorneys is Benjamin Brafman.



Outline

I. A View from the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York
    A. Introduction
    B. White Collar Work in the Southern District is as Robust as Ever 
    C. Unique Opportunities for Members of the Bar 
    D. Promoting a Proactive Cyber Security Strategy 
    E. The Role of Lawyer as Gatekeeper
II. Discussing the Media’s Impact on Prosecutorial Decision-Making 
    A.The Imperfect Triangle of Press, Prosecutor and Defense 
        1. Speaker Introductions 
        2. Interacting with the Press 
        3. Applying Pressure to Prosecutors and Regulators 
        4. The Effect of the Instantaneous Deadline 
        5. Letting the Reader Interpret the Facts 
    B. The Dangers of Manipulation 
        1. Speaking Indictments and Complaints 
        2. Is the Government Relying on the Media to Make Its Case? 
        3. Appropriate Release of Information 
        4. The Prosecution Forms the Narrative 
    C. The Public's Right to Know vs. The Fair Trial 
        1. What About the Defense Theory?
        2. Covering the Case that Hasn’t Been Brought 
        3. The Dangers of Simultaneous Pursuit 
        4. The Unintended Consequences of Reporting 
        5. Politics and the Press Conference 
        6. Juror Misconduct and the Internet
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The years following the Civil War were tumultuous ones for New York City, offering many opportunities to the dishonest. Unsavory politicians and errant members of the bench and bar were among those who took advantage of those troubled times. In December 1869, a letter was circulated among some of the city’s lawyers addressing those improprieties. It called for the creation of a new bar association to “sustain the profession in its proper position in the community, and thereby enable it ... to promote the interests of the public ....” More than 200 lawyers responded by signing a declaration of organization and in 1870 The Association of the Bar of the City of New York was born. The young organization quickly made its presence felt. Among its first activities was a campaign to defeat corrupt politicians and judges at the polls and to establish standards of conduct for those in the legal profession.

The association continues to work at political, legal and social reform, and maintaining high ethical standards for the legal profession. The association also continues to implement innovative means by which the disadvantaged may be helped. Much of this work is accomplished through the Association's more than 160 committees, each charged to consider a specific area of law or the profession.

The association has grown to more than 23,000 members. To serve them, the association strives to move ahead in many areas. The library is the largest member-funded law library in the country, and provides members with a “gateway” to online services, including free use of LexisNexis and WestLaw, while continuing to provide more traditional library services. The Small Law Firm Center, Career Management Program and other benefits are constantly evolving to serve members’ needs. More than 150 continuing legal education programs are presented annually.

The public good remains one of the association’s highest priorities. The Legal Referral Service, jointly sponsored by the association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, provides an array of services directly aimed at serving the needs of the public. The City Bar Justice Center identifies the most pressing legal concerns of New York’s neediest and uses novel approaches to address them, often involving community participation.

 





Speakers / Authors:

Photo of Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara
U.S. Attorney's Officce

Preet Bharara serves as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in May, 2009 and confirmed in August of that year. The Southern District consists of Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Sullivan counties. He supervises an office of more than 450 employees, including more than 200 Assistant United States Attorneys.

Mr. Bharara is a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and serves as Chair of its Subcommittee on White Collar Fraud. Bharara is also a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group of the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Since becoming United States Attorney, Mr. Bharara has formed a special unit in the Criminal Division to address threats posed by large-scale frauds and cyber crime. He created another specialized unit of prosecutors, to pursue and prosecute the leaders of organizations that engage in transnational acts of terrorism, narco-terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and money laundering.

Prior to becoming the United States Attorney, Mr. Bharara served as the Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. During his tenure, he helped to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the firing of United States Attorneys.

From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Bharara served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide range of cases involving organized crime, racketeering, securities fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and other crimes.

Mr. Bharara was a litigation associate in New York at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman from 1996 to 2000 and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1993 to 1996. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in Government in 1990, and from Columbia Law School with a J.D. in 1993, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review.

Photo of Benjamin Brafman

Benjamin Brafman
Brafman & Associates, P.C.

Benjamin Brafman is the principal at Brafman & Associates, P.C., a six-member law firm located in Manhattan, specializing in criminal law with an emphasis on white-collar criminal defense. Best known for representing entertainers like Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z and Michael Jackson, Mr. Brafman’s clients have included French politician Dominique Straus-Kahn, NFL star Plaxico Burress and real estate magnate Charles Kushner.

Mr. Brafman is a Fellow in American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2005 he received the "Outstanding Private Criminal Defense Practitioner Award" from the New York State Bar Association. In 2006 he received the “Norman Ostrow Award,” for outstanding achievement in the field of White Collar Criminal Defense, awarded by the New York Counsel of Defense Lawyers. In 2007 he was presented with the first ever "Clarence Darrow Distinguished Practitioner Award,” by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Mr. Brafman was an Assistant District Attorney in the Rackets Bureau of the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1976-79 before entering private practice in 1980.

Admitted to the bar in 1975, his admissions include New York, U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. In 1978 he was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A graduate of Brooklyn College, Mr. Brafman received his J.D. from Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1974. While at Ohio Northern he wrote for the Ohio Northern University Law Review. He received his LL.M. in Criminal Justice from New York University School of Law in 1979.

Photo of Steven M. Cohen

Steven M. Cohen
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Steven M. Cohen became a partner in the New York office of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in September of 2011, after serving as Secretary to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Chief of Staff in the Office of the New York Attorney General.

Previously he served as the Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York violent gang unit, and spearheaded the prosecution of New York’s largest and most dangerous criminal organizations.

As Secretary to Governor Cuomo, Mr. Cohen was the Governor’s most senior advisor and had overall responsibility for management of the Governor’s administration, including day-to-day oversight of the senior staff, coordination of legislative affairs, and direction of the press office. As Chief of Staff, Mr. Cohen was responsible for the operation of the Office of the Attorney General, an independent executive agency with an annual budget of approximately $250 million and a staff of 1,800, including 650 lawyers in 16 offices.

Previously he was a partner at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. In his white-collar criminal practice, Mr. Cohen represented individuals and corporations in connection with investigations and prosecutions conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York State Attorney General, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

He was a Senior Editor for the Journal of International Business Law. Following law school, Mr. Cohen served as law clerk to the Honorable Stanley Sporkin of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Frank X. Altimari of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. Cohen is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Cohen graduated with a B.A. from New York University in 1985, and received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1988.

 

Photo of Andrew Longstreth

Andrew Longstreth
Thomson Reuters

Andrew Longstreth has been a senior writer for law with Thomson Reuters since November, 2010. An award-winning legal reporter and editor, Longstreth was a senior writer at The American Lawyer for nine years, where he co-created the The Am Law Litigation Daily website and newsletter.

Since joining Thomson Reuters, Mr. Longstreth has covered a wide range of legal topics, including brain injury litigation involving the National Football League, the Colorado shooting, Penn State’s liability in the Sandusky scandal, in addition to following several insider trading investigations taking place in New York City .

Over his career Mr. Longstreth has regularly broken news about litigation and the business of law, including exclusives on Foreign Corrupt Bribery Act litigation and an inside report on the workings of David Boies’ law firm.

Previously, Mr. Longstreth worked at business publications at Ziff Davis and Time Inc., and before that he was a Fulbright Fellow at the U.S. Information Agency in Senegal, where he researched monetary policy.

Mr. Longstreth received a B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1998.

Photo of Susan Pulliam

Susan Pulliam

Susan Pulliam is an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering the financial industry. She joined the Journal in November 1990, initially reporting on insurance. Today her focus in on pensions and institutional investing.

Ms. Pulliam started her career in 1982 as a reporter at the Indianapolis Business Journal. She was a member of the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1983 to 1985. In March 1986, she joined Bank Letter, an Institutional Investor newsletter in New York, and in August 1988, she moved to Corporate Finance magazine.

In 2002, she and a Journal colleague won a George Polk Award for a series of articles exposing how Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) created profits by manipulating the system for promoting initial public offerings. She was a member of a team of Journal reporters awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for a series of stories that exposed corporate scandals. Ms. Pulliam and a team of Journal reporters won a 2003 Gerald Loeb Award in deadline writing for its coverage of the WorldCom accounting scandal.

In June 2005, Ms. Pulliam and a group of fellow Journal reporters won the Business Award from the New York Press Club for their "Open Secrets" series. She and a colleague won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers award in the spot enterprise category for their story, "Uncooking the Books."

In 2008, Ms. Pulliam was part of a team that won the Scripps Howard award and a New York Press Club award for a series on the mortgage crisis. She was also part of a team that won a New York Press Club Award for coverage of Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy Dow Jones.

Ms. Pulliam earned a B.S. degree in journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Photo of George Sard

George Sard
Sard Verbinnen & Co.

George Sard is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sard Verbinnen & Co., a leading strategic corporate and financial communications firm with offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company provides assistance with corporate positioning, media relations, investor relations, transaction communications, litigation support and crisis communications.

Sard Verbinnen & Co. advises clients in the U.S. and abroad, together with their financial and legal advisors, on a wide range of equity and debt transactions, such as negotiated mergers and acquisitions, hostile offers and defenses, proxy contests, shareholder activism, LBOs, IPOs, and financial restructurings and bankruptcies.

The company typically provides strategic counsel and message development, media relations, crafting communications materials for all audiences (including investors, employees, customers, partners, and regulators), creating transaction websites and announcement advertising, developing and implementing social media strategies, and coordinating overall announcement logistics

Before co-founding Sard Verbinnen & Co. in 1992, Mr. Sard was Chairman of the New York office of Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart, a corporate/financial public relations firm.

Mr. Sard and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in English from Clark University.

Photo of John F. Savarese

John F. Savarese
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

John F. Savarese is a partner in the litigation department of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. He was recently named the first chairman of a newly formed committee on white-collar criminal law of the New York City Bar Association.

Mr. Savarese has represented numerous Fortune 500 corporations, major financial institutions and senior executives in SEC and other regulatory enforcement proceedings. He is recognized as one of the world's top litigators, being selected in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Chambers USA and Lawdragon's 500 Leading Lawyers in America. His experience includes investigations concerning accounting fraud, insider trading, criminal tax, criminal antitrust and the Wall Street research-analyst allegations.

Mr. Savarese joined Wachtell Lipton in 1988, after working in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where he tried numerous jury trials, received the Attorney General's John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement, and also served as chief appellate attorney.

Prior to his work with the United States Attorney's Office, Mr. Savarese served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan of the United States Supreme Court, and to the Honorable Louis H. Pollak of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Savarese teaches a course on white-collar criminal law and procedure at Harvard Law School. He is also a frequent lecturer and panelist for the American Bar Association, Stanford Law School's Directors' College program, the Practicing Law Institute, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York. He is a member of the dean's advisory board at Harvard Law School and a member of the board of the lawyers' committee for civil rights under law.

Mr. Savarese graduated, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1977 and received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1981, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.  

Photo of James Stewart

James Stewart

 

James Stewart writes the “Common Sense” column for the Business Day section of The New York Times. He contributes regularly to The New Yorker and was formerly "Page One" Editor of The Wall Street Journal. He is also the Bloomberg professor of business journalism at Columbia University.

Mr. Stewart is the author of 11 books, including the national best-seller, "Disney War," an account of Michael Eisner's tumultuous reign. Other national bestsellers include "Den of Thieves," about Wall Street in the '80s; "Blind Eye," an investigation of the medical profession; and "Blood Sport," about the Clinton White House. "Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction," was inspired by his classes at Columbia. "Heart of a Soldier," named the best non-fiction book of 2002 by TIME magazine, recounts the remarkable life of Rick Rescorla, a victim in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His most recent book is "Tangled Web."

Mr. Stewart is the recipient of a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Wall Street Journal articles on the 1987 stock market crash and the insider trading scandal. He is also the winner of the George Polk award and two Gerald Loeb awards. "Blind Eye" was the winner of the 2000 Edgar Allan Poe Award given annually by the Mystery Writers of America.

Mr. Stewart is a graduate of Harvard Law School and DePauw University.

Photo of Richard B. Zabel

Richard B. Zabel
U.S. Attorney's Office

Richard B. Zabel is the Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was promoted to that position in October 2011 after serving as Chief of the Office's Criminal Division since 2009.

Mr. Zabel first joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1991, where, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted a variety of cases involving securities fraud, obstruction of justice, racketeering, firearms and narcotics charges, and argued numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

From 1996 to 1999, he served as Deputy Chief and then Chief of the Office's Narcotics Unit. He received numerous awards, including the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service and the Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. In 1999, he left the U.S. Attorney's Office to join the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he was a partner and co-head of the firm's litigation section until 2009.

Mr. Zabel has taught as an adjunct professor of National Security Law and Terrorism Law at Columbia Law School, and of International Criminal Law Enforcement at the Fordham University School of Law. He is a member of the New York Bar, the Federal Bar Council, and the New York Inn of Court.

Mr. Zabel received his J.D. in 1987 from Harvard Law School where he was Best Oralist in the Ames Moot Court Competition. He received his A.B. in Comparative Literature and graduated summa cum laude in 1983 from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was a Fulbright Scholar.

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Details

Course Code : 773145

Release Date: 10/15/2012 12:00:00 AM
Length: 1hr 32min
Format Type: Video
Recorded Date: 5/14/2012

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