| NEW YORK, July 14
NEW YORK, July 14 Former leaders of the defunct
law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf have asked a state judge to dismiss
criminal charges against them, saying they should not be made
"scapegoats" for the firm's downfall.
In court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, former
Dewey chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen
DiCarmine and former chief financial officer Joel Sanders said
they lacked criminal intent and the necessary understanding of
"complicated accounting rules and regulations" required to be
guilty, according to the filing.
They also said they "fully intended" to make required
payments on a $150 million bond offering in 2010 aimed at
refinancing the firm's debts. Prosecutors alleged that Dewey
misled investors on the deal.
Dewey & LeBoeuf once had as many as 1,400 lawyers before
going bankrupt in May 2012. Its collapse is the largest of a
U.S. law firm, costing thousands of jobs and hundreds of
millions of dollars of estimated losses for banks, lenders and
Earlier this year, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance
Jr. accused the former executives of using accounting gimmicks
and fraud to cheat banks and investors in a failed attempt to
keep the firm alive. They are charged with several dozen
felonies each, including grand larceny, securities fraud and
falsifying business records. [ID: nL1N0M31CB]
"The evidence will show that none of these three defendants
had that understanding," the filing said.
The former executives blamed the firm's problems on factors
including the "Great Recession," the "voracious greed of some of
the firm's partners" and bad publicity.
Client relations manager Zachary Warren was also criminally
charged with helping to start the fraud and cover up its early
stages. He filed separate court papers on Friday seeking
dismissal of his case. All four have pleaded not guilty.
Six other former Dewey employees, including Dewey's
controller and its former billing director, have pleaded guilty
in connection with accounting fraud at the firm and agreed to
cooperate with prosecutors. [ID: nL1N0MP245]
"While some former employees of D&L have pleaded guilty to
various crimes that they apparently believe that they committed
at D&L, the court should not let the defendants in this case
become scapegoats for things these defendants did not do or
approve," the joint filing said.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to
comment. Lawyers for Sanders, Davis and Warren were not
immediately available for comment on Friday. Austin Campriello,
a lawyer for DiCarmine, said in an email, "Our papers speak for
The case is New York v. Davis et al, New York State Supreme
Court, New York County, No. 773/2014.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Additional reporting by Karen
Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Noeleen Walder and