Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday News and Notes

1.  Douglas Bates is going to plead guilty after seeing how the Kitterman trial went.  Paula McMahone covers the development:

Douglas Bates, 55, a Plantation lawyer who lives in Parkland, was indicted in August on the conspiracy charge and three separate wire fraud counts. His trial was scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in West Palm Beach.
But prosecutors filed updated court records on Wednesday charging Bates with the lone conspiracy count and U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks scheduled a change-of-plea hearing for 11 a.m. Thursday, a sign that Bates has reached a plea agreement with the government.
The charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in federal prison and significant fines. A felony conviction would also lead to Bates' disbarment from practicing law.
His decision to plead guilty comes a week after a jury found Christina Kitterman, an attorney who formerly worked for Rothstein, guilty of three counts of wire fraud. She could face nine years or more in prison when she is sentenced later this year, prosecutors said.

2.  Fane Lozman is not a happy camper, even after winning in the Supreme Court (from the DBR):

Fane Lozman won a U.S. Supreme Court decision finding his floating home was a house and not boat, but he said he's still not getting justice after a federal magistrate valued his loss at $7,500.
Lozman offered advertisements of comparable floating homes in the Florida Keys priced from $185,000 to $265,000 in a motion filed Tuesday to vacate U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow's report.
The West Palm Beach judge used a 5-year-old report ordered by a federal judge when Lozman's floating home, which had no engine, was originally seized as a maritime vessel by the U.S. Marshals Service in Riviera Beach.
"Are they pissed off I got them reversed? Now I'm being punished for winning this," Lozman told the Daily Business Review. "This is pathetic."
The 57-foot, two-story structure was towed to the Miami River by the city and set aflame in 2009 in a legal dispute that filled state and federal court files. Riviera Beach and federal authorities contended they had the right to seize the property under maritime law.
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale sided with the city, but Lozman appealed. He had retired after making millions of dollars during the tech boom as a stock trader and made his floating home a cause celebre.

3.  Roy Black has an excellent post, explaining how to cross the sympathetic witness.  From the intro to the lengthy post on the SAC insider trading trial:

The government’s star witness and “insider” is Dr. Sidney Gilman, an 81 year old drug researcher who long sought a cure for Alzheimer’s and had published nine books and 240 articles during a highly distinguished career. Gilman testified that he at first “accidentally” passed confidential information to Martoma. He claimed he “slipped” in telling him about the deleterious side effects of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug. He admitted that after his slip he knowingly gave further detailed data on the drug’s failed clinical trial.
Gilman appears grandfatherly, vulnerable and fragile and has been taking anti-cancer drugs. A defense lawyer’s worst nightmare. And the government did their best to elevate Gilman while casting Martoma in an ugly light. Gilman testified that Martoma reminded him of his eldest son who had committed suicide, and suggested that Martoma used this to seduce Gilman, squarely placing most of the blame on their target Martoma. The government’s theme was that Martoma took advantage of a befuddled sick old man.
Despite the government’s efforts to paint him in a good light, Gilman came to the witness stand toting a lot of baggage. The government needed his testimony and gave Gilman a sweet deal. He received a non-prosecution agreement, a settlement with regulators requiring only repaying his consulting fees and retirement from the University of Michigan Medical Center in lieu of being fired. A pretty good global resolution of his myriad problems. All superior benefits the defense lawyer must explore on cross.
There are high stakes in this cross examination for Martoma because a month earlier, another former SAC employee, Michael S. Steinberg, was convicted of insider trading. Matoma’s lawyers are well aware that caution must be abandoned. This cross could go either way and maybe the difference between going home and 20 years in a federal facility.
4.  Rumpole posted about an elderly nun being sentenced to federal prison.  Is this insane or is it me?  From the Chicago Tribune:

A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee military facility used to store enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.
Rice asked the judge not to take her age into consideration when handing out the sentence.
"To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor," the nun said in court. "I hope that happens."
Rice and the others admitted to spray painting peace slogans and hammering on exterior walls of the facility. When a guard confronted them, they offered him food and began singing.
The three were convicted by a federal jury last May of damaging national defense premises under the sabotage act, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and of causing more than $1,000 of damage to U.S. government property.
Prosecutors contended the break-in at the primary U.S. site for processing and storage of enriched uranium disrupted operations, endangered U.S. national security and caused physical damage.
Dozens of supporters held a prayer vigil for the group outside the courthouse.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for Rice to receive up to a little more than seven years in prison; Walli, 65, more than nine years; and Boertje-Obed, 58, more than eight years. The defendants have been in custody since their convictions.
5.  And here's your moment of blog zen:


Anonymous said...

Autoplay ads now? Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

it's you; she got what she wanted (publicity) so she can die happy. Plus I am sure they will not send her to Marion. (she could have gotten a lot less of course had she played that card but civil disobedience was more important for her - mazeltov.)

Anonymous said...

I am sure convent-detention would have been sufficient.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't Kitterman get a 5K for convincing Bates to plead? Seems fair.

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