In 2007 motion picture star Shia LaBeouf faced a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass after refusing a security guard’s request to leave a downtown Chicago drugstore.
With the firm handling Mr. LaBeouf’s defense, both the national drugstore chain and the security company agreed at a court hearing within several weeks to drop all charges.
Bruno Mancari, brother of a well known suburban Chicago auto dealer, was tried in Cook County Court in 2003 for allegedly murdering 18 years previously a boyhood friend who prosecutors charged was involved in an illegal business operation with Mr. Mancari.
The firm headed a four-lawyer team defending Mr. Mancari. During a week-long trial one prosecution witness changed his testimony and another refused to testify at all. In what Time Magazine later called “a verdict that stunned some court observers,” Mr. Mancari was acquitted by the jury on all charges.
In charges that had nothing to do with his public duties, former Illinois state representative James Phelan and a co-defendant were tried before a federal court jury in November 1999 on allegations of kicking back hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain business for their security services company.
The firm served as co-counsel to Mr. Phelan, and demonstrated at trial that the defendants were victims of extortion by the government’s key witness, who had pleaded guilty of receiving kickbacks in exchange for a reduced sentence. The jury acquitted Mr. Phelan and his co-defendant of all charges against them.
In 2002 Grammy award-winning singer R. Kelly was indicted in Cook County Court on what ultimately became 14 counts related to producing child pornography, regarding a videotape that allegedly showed him engaging in sexual acts with an underage female. The firm was initially engaged as defense counsel and coordinated the efforts of a four-lawyer team through six years before the case came to trial in 2008.
At the end of a month-long proceeding the defense team opted not to call for a mistrial when prosecutors admitted, without the jury present, that despite their earlier claims a DVD presented during the trial was not an exact copy of the videotape in question. The strategy proved successful when the jury found R. Kelly not guilty on all 14 charges.
R. Kelly was indicted in Polk County, Florida on 12 counts involving a similar matter in 2002. The firm, with Ed Genson as lead lawyer in this as well as the Illinois charges, handled the defense. In 2004 a Florida Circuit Court judge agreed with the defense’s contention that Polk County sheriff’s detectives did not have enough evidence to justify a search of R. Kelly’s home when they asked a judge for a warrant in 2002. Prosecutors subsequently dropped all charges.
Miguel Santiago, a former Illinois state representative and former Chicago alderman, was charged in 1998 with collecting $148,000 in pay and benefits for work he allegedly had not performed as a consultant to the Cook County treasurer’s office.
With the firm as his defense counsel, Mr. Santiago was the first elected official to contest so-called “ghost-payroll” charges in a four-year federal probe of city, county and state government that ultimately resulted in nearly three dozen convictions. He testified in his own behalf concerning the consulting and community advocacy services he performed. In January 1999, after a 16-day trial, the federal court jury deliberated for two days before finding Mr. Santiago not guilty of all 11 charges against him.
International business executive Lord Conrad Black had built Hollinger International into a major media company that included ownership of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post and the London Daily Telegraph. In late 2003, Mr. Black stepped down as Hollinger International’s chief executive amid charges he and others took unauthorized payments from the company. In 2007 the firm defended him in Chicago federal court against 14 charges of criminal racketeering, money laundering, wire and mail fraud, tax and obstruction charges for allegedly helping to defraud Hollinger International of $84 million.
In July 2007 the federal court jury acquitted Mr. Black of nine charges, including the racketeering charge, but found him guilty of three counts of mail fraud and a single count of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced in December of 2007 to serve more than six years in prison. However, in June 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States significantly narrowed the scope of the law used by federal prosecutors in the case and accordingly called into question the fraud convictions of Mr. Black and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. The justices unanimously called a broad interpretation of the law, which makes it a crime ‘to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,’ unconstitutionally vague and returned Mr. Black’s case to the lower courts.