Pierce O`Donnell Cleared On All Counts

Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:19pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

LOS ANGELES--(Business Wire)--
The U.S. Attorney`s Office in Los Angeles has dropped the one remaining campaign
finance charge against prominent Los Angeles trial attorney Pierce O`Donnell. 

Judge S. James Otero today signed a stipulation order prepared by federal
prosecutors to dismiss a felony charge of allegedly causing the treasurer of a
political campaign to submit inaccurate reports. Coupled with Judge Otero`s
decision earlier this month to throw out two other charges, the latest move
means that O`Donnell has been cleared of all allegations. 

"The government did the right thing by dismissing the final charge and
vindicating Pierce in his fight against these allegations," said George
Terwilliger, an attorney for O`Donnell at the Washington D.C. firm of White &
Case. "It is just as important to the cause of justice to root out unfounded
criminal allegations as it is to promote integrity in the election finance
system." 

O`Donnell has continued to vigorously represent clients since he was charged
last summer with violations of campaign finance law. "I will continue to
champion the causes of the vulnerable and unrepresented," he said. 

He served as lead counsel in the last remaining case for victims of Hurricane
Katrina in their efforts to hold the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accountable
for the catastrophic flooding of Greater New Orleans. The trial of Robinson v.
United States before federal judge Stanwood Duval, Jr. ended last month and a
ruling is expected later this summer. 

O`Donnell also served as lead counsel in a long-running civil fraud case that
resulted last month in a $350 million verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court. The
case, Auerbach Acquisition Associates v. Greg Daily, was originally filed in
2002 and is believed to be the largest civil jury award in California this year.


O`Donnell was charged last summer with three felony counts of campaign-finance
irregularities. At the heart of the government`s case were allegations that
O`Donnell had provided $26,000 in campaign contributions through employees of
his law firm to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards. 

The third and final charge accused O`Donnell of causing the treasurer of a
campaign committee to submit inaccurate reports to the Federal Election
Commission concerning the contributions. 

Two other counts claimed that O`Donnell`s so-called conduit contributions
violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Those charges were thrown out
on June 8 by Judge Otero, who ruled in a written opinion that the provision
under which O`Donnell was charged "does not prohibit soliciting and reimbursing
contributions." 

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed a notice that they will appeal Judge
Otero`s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but pursuing that appeal
must be approved by Department of Justice officials in Washington. 

Brian O`Neill, O`Donnell`s Los Angeles-based attorney at the law firm Jones Day,
said he is confident that O`Donnell will prevail in the appeal. "It is very much
to Pierce`s credit that he has continued to practice law at an extraordinarily
high level despite the pressures of this case," O`Neill said. 

"I`m delighted that justice has finally prevailed in this case," added Joseph
Cotchett, a prominent San Francisco Bay Area attorney who served as co-counsel
in the Katrina case. "Pierce is not only an outstanding lawyer, he is an
outstanding citizen who participates in the community. Needless to say, we are
all delighted for him." 





Glenn Bunting or Tom Furlong, 310-788-2850
glenn_bunting@sitrick.com
tom_furlong@sitrick.com

Copyright Business Wire 2009