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LFM Partner Daren H. Firestone explains legal implications of FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search

After news of the FBI’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, CNN and Law360 asked Levy Firestone Muse partner Daren Firestone about the implications:

For investigators to escalate their probe with a search, “there would have to be something serious enough that would merit more than a slap on the wrist,” Firestone, now a partner at the DC-based firm Levy Firestone Muse, said.

Firestone also said that whatever Garland’s plans, he would not have signed off on the search unless he had reason to believe that a piece of evidence at Mar-a-Lago could demonstrate not just that Trump held onto government documents, but that he did so with some nefarious intent.

Levy Firestone Muse Files New Lawsuit Over U.S. Park Police Officers Brutally Beating Protester in Lafayette Square in June 2020

Levy Firestone Muse Partner, Daren Firestone, and Associate, Scott Brooks, filed a federal lawsuit today accusing U.S. Park Police officers of brutally beating their client, Elizabeth Carmer, during the Trump Administration’s violent and unprovoked attacks on civil rights protesters in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of civil actions stemming from federal and local law enforcement’s violent removal of demonstrators from Lafayette Square, where members of the public had been gathering for days to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

Ms. Carmer, 58, was kneeling with her hands in the air when Park Police officers rushed at her, knocked her to the ground, and senselessly bludgeoned her with batons. She suffered severe bruising and permanent nerve damage in her right thigh.

“They came at me with so much force. It was truly shocking,” said Ms. Carmer. “I’m not someone who attends a lot of protests. But the news that summer was so heartbreaking. I just wanted to speak up, in my own small way, and say, ‘This is not right.’ I’m still living with the consequences.”

The assault happened on the fourth day of civil rights protests in Lafayette Square. Ms. Carmer, who had not attended any of the previous days’ demonstrations, had been in the square for an hour or less when the officers beat her.

Later that day, former President Trump posed for photographs holding a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“The attack on peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square was an assault on the bedrock of our democracy: the right to free speech. The officers and the person who ordered the assault on the demonstrators must be held accountable,” said Daren Firestone, of Levy Firestone Muse LLP, who is representing Ms. Carmer in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses U.S. Park Police officers and Major Mark Adamchik, the incident commander, of violating Ms. Carmer’s rights under the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It also seeks damages for assault and battery under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Read the complaint

See the video that captured part of the incident

Ms. Carmer kneeling at the northern edge of Lafayette Park, just seconds before the attack (approximately 6:38 p.m.) — courtesy Darren Haynes
Still image from video that captured part of the attack on Plaintiff (approximately 6:38 p.m.) — courtesy Darren Haynes
Ms. Carmer’s right thigh, three days after the attack

Sanctioned Russian oligarchs dropped their suit against Levy Firestone Muse clients Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson

The sanctioned Russian oligarchs and owners of Russia’s Alfa Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan, have dropped the defamation lawsuit they filed against Levy Firestone Muse LLP clients Fusion GPS and its founder Glenn Simpson in 2017. Levy Firestone Muse attorneys Joshua A. Levy, Rachel Clattenburg, E. Andrew Sharp, and Kevin P. Crenny worked on the case.

Levy Firestone Muse partner Joshua A. Levy commented on the businessmens’ close ties to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin in a statement, noting that “the oligarch owners of Alfa Bank took issue with the observation that they were close to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and amassed incredible wealth as a result of that association. Official statements explaining recent economic sanctions imposed on the plaintiffs by the European Union and the UK, we believe, confirmed that truth.”

“We are pleased that the plaintiffs decided to abandon their case after 4.5 years of needless litigation. As we wrote in our recent motion to dismiss: ‘It is now clear as can be that Plaintiffs have been using this case to defend reputations that they do not have,’” Levy wrote.

Read the full story, “Russian oligarchs drop suit against investigative firm Fusion GPS,” at Politico.

LFM Partner Daren H. Firestone analyzes Trump’s alleged mishandling of ‘top secret’ documents

Upon reports that former President Donald Trump may have broken the law by taking home documents marked “top secret” in the 15 boxes he removed to his private Mar-a-Lago home, Levy Firestone Muse partner Daren H. Firestone authored an opinion for Law360 to discuss the likelihood of prosecution under the Espionage Act:

We don’t know why Trump took the documents to Mar-a-Lago. Was it a mistake? Were the documents mementos of his time in office? If the classified Mar-a-Lago documents turn out to implicate Trump in a crime — related to Jan. 6 or otherwise — and there are multiple reliable witnesses to testify that Trump intended to hide them from investigations into his criminality, then a prosecution may be warranted, and conviction may be sufficiently likely to overcome political and legal liabilities.

Read the full opinion, “DOJ Unlikely To Charge Trump For Taking Top Secret Docs,” on Law360 (account required) or download a PDF here.

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.