An allegation of wrongdoing in the corporate world now routinely triggers a multiple-front legal war: the DOJ investigates the possibility of criminal fraud charges as private plaintiffs file class-action or derivative suits and the SEC works to file publicity-garnering civil fraud charges. The imperatives of defending against one adversary often run headlong into the needs of another. Because the DOJ will always consider false-statement or obstruction charges if the substantive offense is unprovable, the Fifth Amendment right to silence is a favored shelter on that front. But that right is unavailing against the SEC or the plaintiffs’ bar; refusing to voice a defense on those fronts may risk financial or reputational ruin.
We approach all charges or investigations under the securities laws as part of that integrated whole, always conscious of the collateral risk to the client. When witness testimony at the SEC or a deposition before a civil plaintiff is necessary, or when civil securities-fraud charges must be defended, we approach it with the same intensity we bring to preserving our clients’ liberty in criminal cases – because, in the end, that can be exactly what is at stake.