FedEx hires Barry Bonds lawyers to defend against drug charges

SAN FRANCISCO, July 28 Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:15pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, July 28 (Reuters) - FedEx Corp has hired some of the hard-hitting attorneys who represented home run slugger Barry Bonds to defend against criminal allegations that FedEx knowingly shipped packages from illegal online pharmacies.

Cristina Arguedas and Allen Ruby were retained by FedEx last week, according to court records. Both Northern California-based attorneys have a history of representing high-profile clients, including Bonds, who was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice in 2011 in connection with a steroids investigation.

Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement, which was put on hold as the verdict is under appeal.

Arguedas and Ruby declined to comment on Monday on FedEx. A FedEx representative could not immediately be reached.

FedEx was indicted earlier this month on 15 criminal counts, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Senior managers at the company were repeatedly warned that illegal pharmacies were using its services, the indictment said.

Instead of stopping the conduct, FedEx devised policies so it could continue, the filing said.

FedEx strenuously denied the charges, saying it was innocent. In a statement, a spokesman said U.S. prosecutors in San Francisco are asking that the company assume responsibility for the legality of millions of packages a day.

"We are a transportation company. We are not law enforcement," he said.

Arguedas is a well known California defense lawyer who was part of O.J. Simpson's defense team in the 1990s. In addition to Bonds, Ruby has also represented a variety of corporate clients in civil matters, including Facebook Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.

FedEx is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. The company has said it will plead not guilty.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is United States of America vs. FedEx Corporation, FedEx Express Inc and FedEx Corporate Services Inc, 14-cr-380. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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