LFM Partner Daren H. Firestone offers thoughts on NYAG’s criminal investigation of the Trump Organization

When the probe by the New York attorney general’s office into whether President Donald Trump’s businesses inflated the asset values of a New York estate became a criminal investigation on Wednesday, Levy Firestone Muse partner Daren H. Firestone offered his thoughts on the potential pitfalls and necessary precautions of the new path forward to Law360:

Daren Firestone of Levy Firestone Muse LLP, a former trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s tax division, told Law360 that cooperation between Vance and James’ offices could signal the civil investigation turned up evidence of criminal fraud. The choice between civil and criminal tax enforcement turns on the strength of the evidence and the mindset of the target, he said, noting a criminal case requires proof the defendant acted willfully.

“The chances President Trump might end up indicted just went up,” Firestone said.

Read the full article, “NY Attorney General’s Probe of Trump Goes Criminal,” on Law360.

Rwanda releases LFM investigation report on the Role of the French Government in the Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda

KIGALI, RWANDA—The Government of Rwanda earlier today released “the Muse Report,” the culmination of Levy Firestone Muse LLP’s investigation into the role of the French government in connection with the Genocide against the Tutsi. The report is entitled, “A Foreseeable Genocide,” and concludes a four-year investigation led by LFM partner, Robert F. Muse and conducted by a team of lawyers, investigators and other professionals on behalf of the Rwandan government.

Levy Firestone Muse LLP interviewed over 250 people and gathered over 100,000 documents from Africa, Europe and North America. LFM partnered with three Rwandan law firms, CERTA Law, Trust Chambers Law, and MRB Attorneys.

Read the Muse Report

This posting (and any reposting of it on social media by the firm or its partners) is only for the promotional purposes of Levy Firestone Muse LLP and is not made at the direction of the client.

Court dismisses with prejudice lawsuit brought by Devin Nunes against Levy Firestone Muse LLP clients Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson

The lawsuit filed by Devin Nunes against Levy Firestone Muse clients Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson has been dismissed with prejudice by US District Judge Rossie Alston of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Nunes’s complaint, filed in 2019 and claiming violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, was summarily dismissed by Alston in the 30-page ruling as lacking sufficient evidence and failing almost every standard of a proper RICO complaint:

“Plaintiff’s counsel is reminded that litigation ‘asserted in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment’ may be met with sanctions. Here, Plaintiff’s counsel has filed three complaints in this case since September of 2019. The Court has not issued a favorable ruling on any of the claims Plaintiff asserts,” Alston wrote. “Accordingly, the Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s RICO claims is with prejudice and without leave to amend because in the Court’s view, amendment would be futile.”

Read the full report, “‘At Some Point, Litigation Must End’: Another Federal Judge Dismisses Another Devin Nunes Lawsuit,” at Law & Crime.

LFM Partner Daren H. Firestone explains NY investigation of Trump tax write-offs

Levy Firestone Muse partner Daren H. Firestone‘s most recent opinion in Law360 explains the sequence of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into tax write-offs of consulting fees paid to TTT Consulting LLC, a company partly owned by presidential adviser Ivanka Trump; and why such an investigation is not only appropriate, but also one of the more important opportunities to ensure that the rule of (tax) law is upheld as it relates to the affairs of the Trump Organization.

If there really was, as Ivanka has suggested, no aggregate tax loss to the state, that might be the end of the inquiry, since a politically sensitive tax case with no tax loss will prove unattractive to any enforcement agency, civil or criminal. That said, it’s hard to think of a reason other than a tax advantage for the Trump Organization to pay Ivanka as a consultant, when she was an officer of the company and should have, in the normal course, received the income as salary or a bonus.

A more likely explanation: Ivanka was able to offset the income, for example, using prior business losses, as her father reportedly did to erase the tax obligation on hundreds of millions of dollars.

Read the full opinion, “NY Right To Investigate Trump Consulting Fees For Tax Fraud,” on Law360 (account required) or download a PDF here.

Levy Firestone Muse Announces New Partner

Former DOJ trial attorney deepens the bench at Washington, DC litigation boutique

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Levy Firestone Muse is pleased to announce the addition of Monique T. Abrishami to their high-stakes civil litigation and white-collar criminal law practice as a partner. The Washington, DC-based boutique law firm represents companies, executives, and government officials in federal and state criminal matters, investigations by Congressional Committees and other federal government enforcement agencies, complex commercial litigation, as well as plaintiffs in personal injury/medical malpractice and whistleblower cases.

Ms. Abrishami brings with her a strong track record as a trial attorney who has tried over a dozen cases to judgment while serving as a Trial Attorney at the Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, where she investigated and prosecuted public officials – including U.S. Senator Robert Menendez – and others in corruption and fraud cases, in federal districts around the country.

In private practice, Ms. Abrishami excelled in handling complex civil litigation matters, including the representation of state and tribal entities in opioid lawsuits; recovering insurance proceeds for mass tort liability in complex bankruptcies; and the representation of national construction companies in a multi-million dollar dispute with a supplier. Ms. Abrishami clerked for Judge Diana Gribbon Motz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She is admitted to the Florida, Maryland, and DC bars, and she is fluent in Spanish.

“Monique is a valuable addition to the firm, and to our current and future clients,” said managing partner Joshua A. Levy. “Her experience at the DOJ and in complex litigation matters aligns perfectly with our practice, not to mention, she is brilliant and a pleasure to work with. We are very pleased that our successes have allowed us to continue expanding our firm with such incredible talent.”

Levy Firestone Muse attorneys are particularly adept at navigating political and media storms and have participated in the Watergate, Benghazi, Enron, Fast and Furious, Iran Contra, Solyndra, Filegate, Anita Hill, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2016 election investigations.

About Levy Firestone Muse

Levy Firestone Muse is a Washington, DC-based boutique litigation firm specializing in white-collar criminal defense, investigations, complex civil matters, malpractice/personal injury, healthcare fraud, and whistleblower representation. Our attorneys have tried and won “bet-the-company” litigation, and amassed decades of experience defending and prosecuting commercial litigation throughout the United States.

LFM Partner Daren H. Firestone on how Trump’s tax activities may be criminal

Levy Firestone Muse partner Daren H. Firestone‘s recent opinion in Law360 offers an overview of the myriad problems with President Trump’s tax returns, and outlines how the tactics used by the president to minimize his tax payments may, in fact, be criminal:

Until the president agrees to prove his claim by releasing his returns, the most logical conclusion — in light of the over 20,000 false or misleading claims he has made while in office — is that the president is lying. But lying on a tax return is a felony. So is tax evasion — where a taxpayer knows he is breaking the law when he takes steps to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from collecting the taxes he owes. Did Trump commit these crimes? Maybe.

Read the full article, “Trump’s Tax Tactics May Be Criminal,” at Law360.

LFM Partner Joshua A. Levy on reforming police use of deadly force to arrest

Levy Firestone Muse partner Joshua A. Levy and criminal and civil litigation lawyer Steven M. Salky have authored an article for the June 2020 issue of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ journal The Champion that reviews and proposes reforms for the majority of state laws allowing police use of deadly force.

In the article, Levy and Salky advocate that “state laws could instead help make clear that allowing suspects to escape immediate apprehension for almost every crime is a more reasonable alternative than killing them,” and review the recent killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks to formulate a model for reform and “to focus attention on creating alternatives to the use and escalation of force and different incentives for police interaction.” After all, per Levy and Salky:

If the police are to regain the respect of the public they serve, the use of deadly force must be limited to only those arrests where the use of such force is objectively necessary to prevent imminent loss of life or serious bodily injury to the police or third parties.

Read the full article, “Reforming Policy Use of Deadly Force to Arrest,” on The Champion’s website (for NACDL members only) or download a PDF here.

LFM partner Joshua A. Levy represents Liz Zentos in Senate Republican probe of Hunter Biden and Ukraine

Levy Firestone Muse partner Joshua A. Levy‘s representation of Foreign Service officer and former National Security Council director for Eastern Europe Liz Zentos has been featured in a recent Washington Post overview of Senator Ron Johnson’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s role with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

Despite Johnson’s decision to interview Zentos regarding the White House’s potential dealings with Burisma during the final months of the Obama administration, Levy shared with the Washington Post that:

“…In all of the government meetings in which [Zentos] participated, she has no recollection of Burisma or Hunter Biden coming up in any of them… [including] the January 2016 meeting with Ukrainian and U.S. officials she recalls attending.”

Read the full article, “Senate Republicans advance Ukraine probe aimed at Biden despite foreign interference concerns,” at the Washington Post.

LFM wins victory for Fusion GPS in dismissal of Devin Nunes suit

Levy Firestone Muse clients Fusion GPS and CEO Glenn Simpson won a substantial victory against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on Friday, after US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady dismissed Nunes’ suit for $9.9 million in damages.

Fusion GPS is the firm whose leaked intelligence report came to be known as the “Steele dossier,” which helped prove Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Nunes later filed a complaint against Fusion GPS, claiming civil violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. In dismissing the complaint, O’Grady wrote that it included “many rote statements of law and conclusory allegations which fall short of satisfying the pleading standard.”

To learn more the case, read the full overview, “Court dumps Nunes’ suit against Trump dossier firm,” at Politico.


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