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SPAC Strikeforce Newsletter Vol. 3 - 10.18.2021

What started as rumblings from regulators about SPACs’ structure and management has now developed into a war on three fronts. To varying degrees, private plaintiffs, regulators at the SEC and FINRA, and Congress have all trained their sights on SPACs. Broadly, each SPAC-attack centers on the same issue: how SPACs compensate sponsors and other early investors and, relatedly, how SPACs communicate those arrangements—and potential conflicts—to later investors. This issue of the SPAC Report examines these challenges and analyzes what each could mean for the future of SPACs. 

Recent Woes for Prosecutors in Cellphone Searches - 10.13.2021

The abundance of data stored on cellphones has been a double-edged sword for cellphone users seeking to suppress government searches.  Since the Supreme Court recognized heightened privacy interests implicated by modern cellphone searches, lower courts have scrutinized the scope and circumstances of government searches of cellphones in criminal cases.  In our latest article, “Recent Woes for Prosecutors in Cellphone Searches,” we analyze recent district court decisions applying Fourth Amendment protections to this ubiquitous form of modern technology.

The Pandora Papers Shed New Light On The U.S. As A Tax Haven - 10.12.2021

Last week, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the leaked cache of financial documents known as the “Pandora Papers,” consisting of more than 11.9 million confidential files from fourteen offshore services firms located in numerous countries. Publication of these files augments the existing trove of similarly sensational material revealed in prior leaks, including the Panama Papers, published in April 2016, and the Paradise Papers, published in November 2017, which detailed trillions of dollars of funds held “offshore” by taxpayers around the world. More so than in prior leaks, the United States plays a prominent role in the Pandora Papers—not just as a source of the immense wealth held offshore, or of the professional expertise facilitating such arrangements, but as an offshore destination in its own right.

Benchmark Litigation Names the Firm Among the Best in the Nation in White-Collar Crime; Names Many Partners as Litigation Stars, Labor & Employment Stars and Future Stars - 10.07.2021

NEW YORK, October 7, 2021 - Benchmark Litigation ranked Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello in Tier 1 in the White-Collar Crime category, Highly Recommended (the guide’s top honor) in New York. Acknowledged as “Litigation Stars” in the practice area of White-Collar Crime are Elkan Abramowitz, Richard F. Albert, Robert J. Anello, Benjamin S. Fischer, Catherine Foti, Lawrence Iason, Jonathan S. Sack, Jeremy H. Temkin, and Richard D. Weinberg. Partner Edward M. Spiro was named “Litigation Star” in the area of General Commercial Litigation. Partners Christopher B. Harwood, Brian A. Jacobs, Telemachus P. Kasulis, and Robert M. Radick have been selected as “Future Stars.”

The publication noted that the firm “has a dominating reputation as being a white-collar and investigations powerhouse.”  As noted by a peer, “they don’t do everything, but they are the best at what they do … and that word has gotten around well beyond New York."  Clients stand in agreement offering their support and praise. One client applauds Morvillo Abramowitz and states that “it is hard to imagine they could deliver more focused and effective client service.”

Please find the full editorial section here.

Morvillo Abramowitz partners Robert J. Anello, Catherine M. Foti and Christopher B. Harwood were named as Benchmark Litigation "Labor and Employment Stars." As noted by Benchmark Litigation, “the firm has [] established itself in the labor and employment realm with its expertise in handling some of the most sensitive and complex disputes and investigations. The firm’s employment practice is often called upon by high-profile individuals seeking formidable lawyers in disputes that are bound to gain public attention.”

To view the full editorial, please click here.

Benchmark Litigation is the Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys. Published by Euromoney Legal Media Group, Benchmark Litigation’s guide is derived from a process of extensive research and interviews with litigators and their clients.

Benchmark Litigation Names the Firm Among the Best in the Nation in White-Collar Crime; Names Many Partners as Litigation Stars, Labor & Employment Stars and Future Stars - 10.07.2021

Benchmark Litigation ranked Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello in Tier 1 in the White-Collar Crime category, Highly Recommended (the guide’s top honor) in New York. Acknowledged as “Litigation Stars” in the practice area of White-Collar Crime are Elkan Abramowitz, Richard F. Albert, Robert J. Anello, Benjamin S. Fischer, Catherine Foti, Lawrence Iason, Jonathan S. Sack, Jeremy H. Temkin, and Richard D. Weinberg. Partner Edward M. Spiro was named “Litigation Star” in the area of General Commercial Litigation. Partners Christopher B. Harwood, Brian A. Jacobs, Telemachus P. Kasulis, and Robert M. Radick have been selected as “Future Stars.”

The publication noted that the firm “has a dominating reputation as being a white-collar and investigations powerhouse.”  As noted by a peer, “they don’t do everything, but they are the best at what they do … and that word has gotten around well beyond New York."  Clients stand in agreement offering their support and praise. One client applauds Morvillo Abramowitz and states that “it is hard to imagine they could deliver more focused and effective client service.”

Please find the full editorial section here.

Morvillo Abramowitz partners Robert J. Anello, Catherine M. Foti and Christopher B. Harwood were named as Benchmark Litigation "Labor and Employment Stars." As noted by Benchmark Litigation, “the firm has [] established itself in the labor and employment realm with its expertise in handling some of the most sensitive and complex disputes and investigations. The firm’s employment practice is often called upon by high-profile individuals seeking formidable lawyers in disputes that are bound to gain public attention.”

To view the full editorial, please click here.

Benchmark Litigation is the Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys. Published by Euromoney Legal Media Group, Benchmark Litigation’s guide is derived from a process of extensive research and interviews with litigators and their clients.

Elkan Abramowitz to Receive the Robert M. Morgenthau Award at the PAL’s 23rd Annual Legal Profession Luncheon - 10.06.2021

MAGIA is proud to announce that partner Elkan Abramowitz will receive the Robert M. Morgenthau Award presented by the Police Athletic League at their annual Legal Profession Luncheon on November 3rd, 2021.  The luncheon celebrates the legal profession’s concern for and commitment to the children of New York City and this prestigious award is presented to “outstanding leaders in the legal field.”

Click here to read more.

Elkan Abramowitz to Receive the Robert M. Morgenthau Award at the PAL’s 23rd Annual Legal Profession Luncheon - 10.06.2021

NEW YORK, October 6, 2021 -  MAGIA is proud to announce that partner Elkan Abramowitz will receive the Robert M. Morgenthau Award presented by the Police Athletic League at their annual Legal Profession Luncheon on November 3rd, 2021.  The luncheon celebrates the legal profession’s concern for and commitment to the children of New York City and this prestigious award is presented to “outstanding leaders in the legal field.”

Click here to read more.

First Monday 2021 – The Office of the Appellate Defender - 10.04.2021

On Monday, October 4th, partner Tim Kasulis will be a panelist at the 28th Annual Gala & Mock Supreme Court Argument hosted by the Office of the Appellate Defender.   The panel will hear argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which will examine the question of whether the States’ denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed carry license for self-defense violates the Second Amendment. 

Payment For Order Flow & Market Implications - 10.04.2021

The success of Robinhood Markets Inc., and widespread adoption of zero or low-commission stock trading, have drawn attention to an established market practice—Payment for Order Flow (PFOF)—that, until recently, was little known beyond market participants and securities regulators. PFOF is a practice by which market makers pay retail broker-dealers for the opportunity to fulfill retail customer orders.  In a recent article for Bloomberg Law, “Payment For Order Flow & Market Implications,” we discuss the legal framework for PFOF and recent criticisms of the practice from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and others. We conclude with a discussion of key strategic and empirical questions for policy makers to answer as they consider PFOF’s future. 

Restitution in FCPA Cases: Who Is a Victim of Foreign Corruption? - 09.30.2021

Investigations of FCPA violations have been a big part of white-collar practice in recent years. Central to defending the targets of FCPA investigations is finding a path to a fair and final resolution.  If the resolution includes a guilty plea, one of the many issues that arises is  restitution to victims of the foreign corruption. In this article in the latest issue of the Anti-Corruption Report, “Restitution in FCPA Cases: Who is a Victim of Foreign Corruption?,” we discuss court decisions that address the circumstances under which a defendant convicted of an FCPA violation may be required to pay restitution.

Morvillo Abramowitz Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Legal Historians in Supreme Court Case that Threatens Roe v. Wade - 09.24.2021

NEW YORK, September 24, 2021 - Morvillo Abramowitz partners Catherine Foti and Karen King and associates Nicole Buseman and Bronwyn Roantree filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of the American Society for Legal History and other scholars in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case addressing Mississippi’s abortion laws.  In addition to defending Mississippi’s restrictions on abortions, Petitioners seek to overturn Roe v. Wade.  The brief takes issue with statements made by Petitioners about the history of the abortion debate in the United States, including assertions that Roe is the cause of division and polarization around abortion.  A review of the historical record shows that profound convictions about abortion predate Roe, and the polarization now associated with abortion came later and for reasons beyond the Supreme Court’s decision.  Petitioner’s historically inaccurate arguments should not be the basis for revisiting Roe

Ethical Considerations for Corporate Investigations: Views from All Sides - 09.22.2021

On September 22nd, Richard Albert will be a panelist at the Ethical Considerations for Corporate Investigations: Views from All Sides webinar hosted by the New York City Bar’s White Collar Crime Committee. This panel will explore current issues and recent developments relating to ethical duties and responsibilities of attorneys in internal investigations involving corporations and other entities.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Inadequate Response To Covid-19 - 09.17.2021

For the past 18 months, federal courts have grappled with the impact of Covid-19 on sentencing proceedings, and a curious disparity has emerged. On the one hand, anecdotal evidence suggests that federal judges are imposing more lenient sentences in recognition of how the pandemic has made imprisonment harsher and more punitive than in the past. On the other hand, reports available from the U.S. Sentencing Commission tell a different story—at least for now—suggesting that courts have to a great extent ignored the pandemic when imposing sentence. I have written in the past (here and here) about how the body of sentencing law is effectively hidden from public view (as it exists primarily in court transcripts). This dearth of readily accessible sentencing law is particularly problematic during the Covid-19 pandemic, as courts are grappling with novel issues in hundreds of cases. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is uniquely positioned to fill this gap, but so far has largely failed to do so.

Establishing a "Cheek" Defense Through Expert Testimony - 09.16.2021

To obtain a conviction on criminal tax charges, the government must prove the defendant acted “willfully.” In Cheek v. United States, the Supreme Court held that to satisfy this burden the government must “prove that the law imposed a duty on the defendant, that the defendant knew of this duty, and that he voluntarily and intentionally violated that duty.” In this article, “Establishing a Cheek Defense Through Expert Testimony,” I analyze recent Circuit Court decisions rejecting claims that defendants were improperly deprived of their ability to present a Cheek defense. While there may be circumstances in which this can be done through expert testimony, the case law makes clear that defendants face an uphill battle to establish a lack of willfulness through experts.

Can the Capitol Insurrection Result in Prosecution of Members of Congress? - 09.13.2021

On August 30, the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (“Select Committee”) issued requests to various companies to preserve phone records for hundreds of people whose records the committee may want to review. The letters identified records for, among others, current members of Congress, suggesting the Select Committee may issue subpoenas to these companies to obtain personal data for the specified lawmakers. Not surprisingly, news of the preservation requests ruffled some lawmakers’ feathers and prompted questions about the enforceability of any subpoenas the Select Committee may issue. Congressional inquiry, however, may not be lawmakers’ only concern.