This just keeps getting better and better.
The key here is “discovery.” BTW, Buzzfeed did the same thing as these Russians are accused of doing. Why aren’t they indicted?
The Biglaw Firm Behind The Russian Trolls Indicted In The Mueller Probe
The decision to go with Biglaw is already paying dividends.
By Kathryn Rubino, Above the Law, May 7, 2018 (thanks to Van):
If you’ve been following along with the legal twists and turns of the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, you know that one of the more interesting aspects was the indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian businesses on crimes related to interference in the 2016 presidential election. Conventional wisdom has generally been that none of these entities would ever make an appearance or otherwise acknowledge the proceedings. However, one of the Russian businesses, Concord Management, has tapped a Biglaw firm to rep them in court.
Concord Management has hired Reed Smith as their legal team. Partners Eric A. Dubelier (who according to his firm profile has a practice that focuses on international and domestic regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, white-collar criminal litigation, and civil false claims litigation) and Katherine J. Seikaly (her practice is in government and internal investigations, regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, and related litigation, with particular focus on the False Claims Act (FCA)) made their appearance on behalf of Concord Management last month. They’ve made a bunch of discovery requests seeking non-public information — and, as Politico reports, the requests seem to be a calculated move:
[T[he move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller’s team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information.
The prosecution tried to delay the arraignment, saying it was unclear if Concord Management had been properly served. They sought additional briefing on the question of proper service, and additionally brought up concerns that the three businesses indicted are thought to be run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, also indicted in his individual capacity, and known as Vladimir Putin’s "chef.”
"Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained,” attorneys Jeannie Rhee, Rush Atkinson and Ryan Dickey wrote. "That is especially true in the context of this case, which involves a foreign corporate defendant, controlled by another, individual foreign defendant, that has already demanded production of sensitive intelligence gathering, national security, and foreign affairs information.”
The team from Reed Smith disputed the delay — and used a fancy SAT vocab word to make their point:
"Defendant voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [federal rules], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty. Defendant has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel’s motion is pettifoggery,” Dubelier and Seikaly wrote.
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See, that’s the kind of quality a Biglaw firm bring to the table.
And it seems U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed the government’s position was pettifoggery. On Saturday, he ordered, with no further explanation, that the Wednesday arraignment would continue as scheduled.
Concord Management’s decision to go with Reed Smith is already paying dividends.
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