(PRWEB) January 17, 2013
Bienert, Miller & Katzman (“BMK”) recently obtained a non-prison sentence resolution for its client charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), the Travel Act and conspiracy. Case number SACR 09-00077-JVS, held in the United States District Court in Santa Ana, centered around Paul Cosgrove, the Executive Vice President of CCI, a company that sold high quality valves for use in power plants and other facilities all over the world. According to court documents, the U.S. Justice Department charged CCI and some of its high ranking employees with paying millions of dollars in bribes to “foreign officials” all over the world to obtain these sales. Before the deal negotiated by BMK, Mr. Cosgrove had faced over 100 years in prison. Lead counsel for Mr. Cosgrove, Thomas H. Bienert, Jr., said, “This case shows that diligent and thorough defense efforts can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case. We ultimately were able to convince prosecutors that the conduct was not as clear-cut as originally thought, that the clients were on balance good, hard-working people, and that a fair resolution did not require prison sentences.”
BMK and counsel for three other defendants (Nick Hanna of Gibson Dunne, Dave Wiechert of Wiechert and Associates, and Kim Dunne of Sidley Austin) conducted worldwide investigation and developed evidence suggesting the government’s evidence was incomplete, the court documents indicate. Ultimately, most companies bought CCI valves because they were the best in the world (not because of bribes); most of the supposed “public officials” denied receiving any bribes; and, in most cases, the alleged improper payments were never actually made, according to court records.
Further, through an aggressive litigation and motion strategy, counsel were able to obtain jury instructions that high-lighted the government’s heavy burden of proof at trial. For example, the trial court agreed with defense counsel that the government was obligated to prove defendants’ knew they were dealing with “foreign officials,” something that would have been extremely difficult for the government to prove. The supposed bribery recipients worked for companies that appeared to operate like private companies in the United States, making it very unlikely that the defendants realized they were dealing with “government officials.”
BMK and other defense counsel raised several other issues that brought the government’s ability to obtain a conviction, or defend an appeal, into serious doubt. These motions called into question whether the alleged bribe recipients were even “public officials” as intended by the FCPA; whether the Travel Act even applied to the case; and, whether defendants were entitled to millions of pages of documents that had been withheld from them by CCI, their former employer. Each of these issues likely would have been decided for the first time on an appeal in this case.
This extensive investigation and motion practice rendered convictions far less certain than appeared from the original indictment. That, coupled with defense counsels thorough education of government lawyers as to the particular facts relating to each defendant, such as Mr. Cosgrove’s significant health problems, gained the government’s acquiescence to far less onerous sentences than typically applied in such cases. In the final settlement agreement with the government, Mr. Cosgrove admitted no intentional misconduct and the government agreed that he could resolve the case with a minimal term of home confinement, according to legal documents.