DOJ Ends Bonds Prosecution but Obstruction Statute Issues Live On

Bringing the nearly decade-long obstruction of justice case against former slugger Barry Bonds to a close, prosecutors said Tuesday they would not challenge the Ninth Circuit’s decision to overturn the conviction, but the message has been sent that no individual athlete is out of the government’s reach…

“What I think this may reflect is that however the Department of Justice feels about the statute, they may have concluded that this isn’t the right case to test it in front of the Supreme Court,” Camp, who is a former federal prosecutor, said. “I think the case was a bit of an overreach to begin with and I think they probably wanted to live to fight another day on the scope of the statute, at least in other circuits.”

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Hueston Hennigan Obtains Dismissal of Felony Charges in Waste Management Case

In a settlement agreement announced by Hueston Hennigan LLP, which represented WMH, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of justice and the Hawaii U.S. attorney’s office, agreed to dismiss a 14-count felony indictment charging conspiracy, false statements and intentional discharges of pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act. In exchange, the company has accepted two misdemeanor negligence counts. Separately, the government agreed to dismiss all felony charges against two of the company’s managers in exchange for their acceptance of misdemeanors, and to make a binding recommendation to the court that no jail or other confinement be imposed.

The individual defendants each faced more than 15 years in prison, and the company faced $20 million in fines. The about-face on the part of the government, which vigorously pursued felony charges, came after four years of aggressive litigation on the part of Hueston Hennigan attorneys, who first defeated efforts to indict Waste Management’s parent company, and ultimately filed a compelling prosecutorial misconduct motion that had been taken under submission by the Court after oral argument.

John Hueston, lead counsel for Waste Management said the settlement represents a resounding victory for Waste Management and its employees. “This was a misguided attempt by the government to find criminal intent in an environmental accident that was clearly the result of an act of nature.”

In 2011, Oahu was battered by a historic series of rainstorms and, in one instance, received 11 inches of rain in a 24-hour period in an area with typical annual rainfall of 19 inches. The resulting flooding, Mr. Hueston said, “was unfortunate, but it certainly was not the fault of Waste Management.”

Added co-counsel Marshall Camp: “This was a classic case of prosecutorial overreach.” Camp, a former federal prosecutor, said that prosecutors “were blinded by their desire to pin blame. This led to an extremely weak case that we effectively challenged at every turn.”

First came a series of preliminary victories by the legal team, which in a addition to Mr. Hueston and Mr. Camp included Doug Dixon; Andrew Walsh, Kasey Mitchell, Andrew Junker and Kyle Batter. Together they worked to successfully bar 13 of the 14 substantive experts prosecutors had designated for trial. Then Hueston Hennigan filed a motion to dismiss the case for prosecutorial misconduct. Drawing on thousands of pages of grand jury transcripts that depicted an extensive pattern of prosecutorial misconduct before three grand juries, including efforts to intimidate witnesses, manipulate testimony and influence the grand jury. The motion was still pending when the Government agreed to dismiss all felony charges.

This marks the third case in three years in which Hueston Hennigan attorneys have obtained dismissal of all felony charges following the filing of a prosecutorial misconduct motion.

See “Case Against Al Hill Dismissed; Dallas County D.A. Held In Contempt” and “Nevada Robosigning Case Unravels”.

Star Entertainment Attorney Robert Klieger Joins Partnership

The arrival of Mr. Klieger, a prominent litigator who has represented clients such as Paramount Pictures, NBCUniversal, Showtime Networks, Nickelodeon, MTV, Electronic Arts, and Skechers, puts an exclamation point on six months of growth for the firm in terms of its rosters of clients and attorneys.

“We have had an outstanding year so far, and welcoming Rob to the team continues the momentum,” said Managing Partner Brian Hennigan. “The addition of Rob to the partnership bolsters our existing lineup of talent required to meet the needs of our clients.”

Mr. Klieger’s arrival at Hueston Hennigan was greeted with enthusiasm by clients as well as the members of the legal community.

“Rob has been an integral part of the Skechers legal family for nearly a decade,” said Philip G. Paccione, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Business Affairs of Skechers U.S.A., Inc. “He has handled a wide range of sophisticated intellectual property matters for us and has always given Skechers excellent representation and practical advice in a cost-effective manner. We congratulate him in his new position at Hueston Hennigan and look forward to continuing our relationship with him there.”

“Rob is one of our primary go-to litigators for cases big and small,” said Jacob Schatz, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Electronic Arts Inc. “His ability to balance legal and business considerations, practically and efficiently, is truly exceptional.”
Peter Zeughauser, one of the legal industry’s premier consultants, called the move a smart strategic step for the firm.

“Rob Klieger provides Hueston Hennigan with a unique opportunity to expand its already growing penetration of high stakes boardroom-level entertainment industry litigation, which is a sweet spot in Southern California,” said Mr. Zeughauser. “It also fits well with the firm’s strengths in the tech sector, which is rapidly converging with the entertainment sector. This positions the firm extremely well at the geographic epicenter of the convergence.”

Mr. Klieger said he was drawn to Hueston Hennigan because of its outstanding attorneys. “Despite the short time it has been around, Hueston Hennigan has already assembled among the very best talent in the legal community,” Mr. Klieger said. “I was drawn to the skill of the attorneys, the roster of A-list clients and the energy of the firm. I can’t think of any place I would rather practice law.”

Hueston Hennigan opened offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach in January 2015 with 25 attorneys. The arrival of Mr. Klieger and incoming associates brings the new total to 40.

“Rob Klieger is an extraordinary talent with deep civil litigation experience, particularly in high-stakes entertainment and intellectual property matters,” said Partner John Hueston. “He is the rare established star on a growth trajectory that perfectly fits into our model of creative business trial lawyers who are singularly focused on achieving the best outcomes for our clients.”

In addition to representing movie studios, television networks, production companies and video game publishers in federal and state court actions, Mr. Klieger also has a national business torts practice. Selected as the exclusive winner of the 2014 Client Choice Awards in the Media & Entertainment category for California, as well as the overall winner of the Media & Entertainment category for the United States, he is highly regarded by the judiciary, and his publications have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal courts of appeal.