June 4 (Reuters) - Two attorneys with the defunct law firm
Jenkens & Gilchrist convicted last year of criminal tax evasion
won the right to a new trial on Monday after a judge held that
the verdict had been tainted by a juror who lied during jury
U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan ordered new
trials for former Jenkens partners Paul Daugerdas and Donna
Guerin, as well as Denis Field, the former chief executive of
accounting firm BDO Seidman.
However, he upheld the conviction of a fourth defendant,
former Deutsche Bank broker David Parse, finding that his
lawyers suspected the juror, Catherine Conrad, was not who she
represented herself to be during jury selection but failed to
bring the matter to the court's attention.
"Because 'justice must satisfy the appearance of justice,'
courts need to ensure that tainted jury verdicts -- even those
reached after long and costly trials -- do not stand," Pauley
wrote. "But justice also demands that a defendant having reason
to suspect juror misconduct not remain silent in order to secure
a risk-free trial."
Pauley said her lies were "breathtaking" and included not
disclosing the fact that she had been a lawyer and was subject
to disciplinary proceedings.
Chris Gair, a lawyer for Daugerdas at Jenner & Block, said
he was "absolutely" pleased by the decision.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan
declined comment. A lawyer for Conrad, Bobbi Sternheim, did not
return a call seeking comment.
Daugerdas, once the head of Jenkens & Gilchrist's Chicago
office, was convicted in May 2011 on 23 criminal counts of tax
evasion and conspiracy, following a trial focused on his role in
masterminding a $130 million tax shelter scheme.
The tax shelter investigation helped bring down Jenkens &
Gilchrist, which dissolved in 2007 after agreeing to pay a $76
million penalty to the Internal Revenue Service.
In a 64-page opinion, Pauley said Conrad made a "calculated,
criminal decision to get on the jury that convicted Daugerdas,
Guerin, Field and Parse. Pauley said he would have dismissed her
had she revealed her suspension from the bar and criminal
convictions for shoplifting, among other things. He called
Conrad a "pathological liar and utterly untrustworthy."
During a February hearing, Conrad called attorneys "crooks,"
a statement that Pauley said could "only be understood as
reflecting a pre-existing bias against lawyers."
The comment was a direct statement of bias against Daugerdas
and the other defendants, Pauley said.
The judge suggested that Conrad's views on lawyers were
connected to her own career as an attorney. In 2007, the New
York Appellate Division, First Department, suspended Conrad
after she failed to cooperate with an investigation into
complaints alleging professional misconduct. The Appellate
Division modified the suspension in December 2010, after Conrad
acknowledged an alcohol problem.
In declining to grant a new trial to Parse, Pauley said that
before jury questioning began Parse's lawyers knew that Conrad
had been suspended from practice. They did not bring that and
other facts about Conrad to the court's attention, Pauley said.
"Through this unfortunate concentration of events, Parse's
attorneys permitted Conrad's egregious conduct to infect the
largest tax fraud prosecution in U.S. history," Pauley wrote.
The Justice Department had not indicated whether it would
pursue a new trial against Daugerdas, Gair said.
Mark Detert, a lawyer for Guerin at Stetler, Duffy & Rotert,
said he still needed to review the decision, but "certainly the
result is something I'm very pleased with."
Susan Brune, a lawyer for Parse at Brune & Richard, declined
comment. A lawyer for Field did not respond to requests for
The case is USA v. Paul Daugerdas et al, U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-581.
For the prosecution: Nanette Davis, Stanley Okula, Jr, Jason
Hernandez and Rachel Kovner of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
For the prosecution: Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason
Hernandez, Stanley Okula and Nanette Davis.
For Conrad: Bobbi Sternheim.
For Daugerdas: Chris Gair, Jenner & Block.
For Guerin: Mark Rotert, Stetler, Duffy & Rotert.
For Field: Alexandra Shapiro of Macht, Shapiro & Isserles
and Caroline Rule of Kostelanetz & Fink.
For Parse: Susan Brune, Theresa Trzaskoma and Laura
Edelstein of Brune & Richard.
(Reporting By Nate Raymond)
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