Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Don’t Put Trump Above the Law, Emoluments Challengers Urge

Don’t Put Trump Above the Law, Emoluments Challengers Urge


MANHATTAN (CN) — For the first time in U.S. history, ordinary citizens fought in court Wednesday to have a president’s business dealings declared as violations of anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution.
“Diplomats are bragging that they’re going to this president’s hotel to curry favor with him,” attorney Deepak Gupta argued this morning in the unprecedented hearing. ( Click on image to see larger)
Representing the watchdog CREW, short for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Gupta wants a federal judge to declare Trump’s business dealings in violation of the foreign and domestic emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Judge George Daniels asking questions of attorneys
 During 2 1/2 hours of arguments before U.S. District Judge George Daniels, attorneys representing the executive branch and private citizens sparred both on the interpretation of these previously obscure statutes and the federal judiciary’s role in enforcing it.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Schumate

 “The court lacks jurisdiction to issue an injunction against a sitting president of the United States,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Schumate argued.
Blasting this as an “extreme view,” Gupta described this interpretation of the separation of powers as a recipe for impunity.
“I want to address the government’s view that the president is above the law,” Gupta said.
To earn the right to take the president to court, Gupta will have to prove not only that the president’s business dealings are illegal, but that his clients have been harmed by them.
The judge said he would rule in 30-60 days.

For more in this issue.
NY Magazine article link

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Embattled ex-HSBC Johnson Pushes Back on Allegations, ‘Fair all around’

Embattled ex-HSBC Johnson Pushes Back on Allegations, ‘Fair all around’

Regulation ( Institutional FX 

Mark Johnson on witness stand questioned by his defense attorney Frank Wohl. When asked how he described the eventual outcome of the deal, he responded: “I was surprised. It was a lot better than expected outcome for HSBC. But I felt it was fair all round . . . For the risk that HSBC took, the outcome was fair.”( click on image to see larger)

Defense Expert Kevin Rodgers on the witness stand. HSBC Mark Johnson trial. Rodgers,  former head of foreign exchange trading for Deutsche Bank told the New York federal jury weighing the criminal case against Johnson  that “pre-hedging,” or making some of a large currency purchase in advance, is a standard practice that can be beneficial to the buyer because it keeps the price down. ( click on image to see larger)

From the onset of the trial Johnson has been on the defensive after facing particular damning testimonial evidence. Recorded conversations picked up code words to his fellow traders, including the phrase ‘my watch is off’, which ultimately triggered the frenetic buying action from the traders.
Artwork by Elizabeth Williams 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy: Judge freezes payments to COFINA bondholders

NOTICEL: Judge freezes payments to COFINA bondholders

by Damaris Suarez

Judge Laura Taylor Swain Tuesday suspended payments to the Bondholders of the Appealing Interest Fund Corporation (COFINA) and ordered that the money from the Sales and Use Tax (IVU) corresponding to these funds be kept in custody Of its fiduciary the Bank of New York Mellon until it solves the controversy in its merits.
In this way, the judge determined to grant the motion of interposition of the Bank of New York Mellon , which will have to keep in a reserve account and pay a kind of bond of $ 1,000.00 monthly in the Federal District Court in San Juan. It issued an order to paralyze and consolidate all claims related to these funds until the controversy over who gets the COFINA funds is resolved.
"Leaving the money in a Bank of New York Mellon reserve until the Court determines who is the same is the best way to make sure we have an orderly process, not an improper distribution," she said.
The next COFINA payment was due on Thursday, June 1st. The judge also paralyzed subsequent payments due in July and August. The bondholders of COFINA were the only group that had received uninterrupted money since last year the government determined that it could not honor its debts

Kurt. F. Gwynne, a lawyer for the Bank of New York Mellon, opened the hearing explaining that due to internal disputes between the principal and subordinated bondholders the Court's urgency should be to determine whether the banking institution should issue the payment due on Thursday and What to do prospectively with funds from the IVU.
Likewise, he questioned the participation of bondholders of general obligations in the discussion of the case since they have no interest in COFINA. "This is not the case to determine the constitutionality of these funds," Gwynne said.
The legal representative of the general bond bondholders, Gary Orseck, stated that according to the doctrine they must have access to the funds destined to COFINA. "That the government benefits from the funds that COFINA now has to offer services and the GO's are paid," said the lawyer.
During her participation in the process, the legal representative of the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency (AFAAF), Susan Uhnan, stated that the public corporation favored continuing to honor payments to COFINA.
COFINA is the legal entity created during the administration of Aníbal Acevedo Vilá as a mechanism to issue debt based on revenues from the Sales and Use Tax (IVU) as a source of repayment, so that their payments were insured.
The judge opened her eyes giving condolences for the death of Lcdo. Scott K. Rutsky of the Proskauer firm, legal counsel to the Fiscal Control Board (JCF).

Monday, May 8, 2017

BREAKING: Jury Convicts Ex-Dewey CFO, Frees Exec Director

A Manhattan jury on Monday issued a split verdict in the long-running criminal case against top executives of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, acquitting the defunct law firm’s executive director but convicting its former chief financial officer on fraud and conspiracy charges.
In this file sketch,Joel Sanders sits far left next to his lead defense attorney, Andrew Frisch. Stephen DiCarmine seated right. Di Carmine was acquitted, Sanders convicted. Artwork by Elizabeth Williams

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Citibank Defends Trade Valuations To Open $2B Lehman Suit

Citibank Defends Trade Valuations To Open $2B Lehman Suit

Law360, New York (April 25, 2017, 9:41 PM EDT) -- Lawyers for Citibank NA came out swinging Tuesday to open a bankruptcy court trial over the nearly $2 billion valuation of about 30,000 derivatives trades that went into default after Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse, saying Citibank used proper methods to determine the cost of replacing those trades.

Jay Cohen gives opening statement in the LBHI v Citibank trial in SDNY Bankruptcy trial
On the first day of a multiweek bench trial in front of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman, attorneys Jay Cohen and Claudia Hammerman of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP delivered opening arguments for Citibank.
Claudia Hammerman gives opening statement to Judge Shelly Chapman in SDNY Bankruptcy Court.

A question before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman is whether a creditor holding a claim secured by a right of setoff can recover post-petition interest under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Citi says its $2.2 billion in claims against Lehman are secured by setoff rights against $2 billion in Lehman cash it has held since 2008, and it wants the post-petition interest based on the argument that it is oversecured.

Citibank Trial Team: L-R Jay Cohen, Liza Velazquez, Claudia Hammerman, Julia Wood
Courtroom Art by Elizabeth Williams

Lehman's objection to the post-petition interest is part of a larger lawsuit over the validity of Citi's claims, which arose from clearing and settlement services it provided before Lehman’s collapse as well as credit and derivative contract debts.

The trial is expected to last into September 2017.

Monday, April 3, 2017

After MF Global settlement, PwC Keeps The Oscars Gig

After the MF Global trial settlement, PwC keeps the Oscar gig.

After dealing with weeks of embarrassment, brand damage, ridicule, repeated apologies, rejection and capitulation, PwC has finally caught a break.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to retain the firm to tabulate the ballots for the Oscars despite the colossal screw-up that happened with the Best Picture envelope.  Sure, it won’t make up for the untold millions they agreed to pay to the plaintiffs in the MF Global trial, but, hey,  it’s something!

PwC attorney James Cusick cross examines Jon Corzine at the MF Global PwC civil trial. The case settled March 23rd before  the trial came to a close. Judge Victor Marrero presiding in Manhattan Federal Court. artwork by Elizabeth Williams

The trial between bankrupt brokerage MF Global, run by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and its former accounting firm, PwC, came to an unceremonious end on March 23rd, when both parties  reached a settlement.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. MF Global had been suing PwC for as much as $3 billion.
"The case was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties," said PwC spokesman Andrew Wilson.

Hollywood Reporter Oscar article

Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump Adviser Postponed

Roger Stone appears at a hearing for the postponed civil trial in which he will be called on as witness. By his side was former madam and GOP nominee for NY Governor, Kirstin Davis. Stone managed her 2010 campaign and is godfather of her baby. Warren Redlich, the plaintiff, was the 2010 Libertarian candidate for NY Governor.L-R Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun, Warren Redlich, Stone's attorney, Benjamin Burge, Foreground: Roger Stone, Kirstin Davis. Artwork by Aggie Whelan Kenny

Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - Republican strategist Roger Stone said Thursday that jurors may think he's "the devil" but he still expects to beat a defamation lawsuit accusing him of circulating a mailer calling a political candidate a sexual predator.
The civil trial in New York was set to start Thursday but was postponed until at least August.
Stone, a longtime Donald Trump adviser who cut his teeth in politics playing tricks on opponents of President Richard Nixon, said he looks forward to testifying - and he also hopes to testify before congressional committees investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
He said he wants to testify before the House Intelligence Committee because ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, of California, "maligned" him by accusing him of predicting the hacking of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's email account.
"He slimed me in public, and I'd like to have an opportunity to defend myself in public," Stone said.
The defamation suit accuses Stone and two others of sending a flyer to 150,000 New York households during the state's 2010 election that called the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, Warren Redlich, a "sick twisted pervert."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Jersey State Bar Foundation's 2nd Annual mock trial courtroom art competition 2016-2017

On Wednesday, March 22nd New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner presented awards to this year's winners of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation's Courtroom Artist Contest.

The contest invited students from around the state to enter their courtroom drawings from competition rounds of mock trial sessions. The winners and their teachers, along with family and friends, attended the award ceremony, which took place before the foundation's statewide mock trial finals.

MATES teacher Jennifer Hudak is being awarded a Teacher Merit Award for encouraging a significant amount of participation in the contest among her students.

Third place went to Erein James Ruiz, of New Milford High School

Second place was awarded to Olivia Zhou, of Marshall Academy in Princeton Junction

First place went to Michaela Lozada, of Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (MATES) in Manahawkin

Student winners with their artwork at the Law Center

Brian Neary member of the New Jersey Bar Foundation (who is a big supporter of the program) and courtroom artists Aggie Kenny and Elizabeth Williams attended to honor the winning students and their work.

The winning artists also drew the state mock trial finals that included the two state mock trial finalist teams: Noor-Ul-Iman School from Middlesex County and West Morris Mendham High School from Morris County.

Student team from Noor-Ul-Iman School from Middlesex County
Artwork by Miya Preyer from Point Pleasant Beach High School

In addition, the New Jersey Law Center will host a juried show of the courtroom art beginning on May 1 Law Day, and running through the end of the month.

Looking forward to seeing you  in May!