The Work

February 17, 2012 11:15 AM

Defense Lawyers Grilled on Their Knowledge of Juror Misconduct in Daugerdas Case

Posted by Ed Shanahan

Prosecutors fighting to preserve the convictions of four people in the Jenkens & Gilchrist tax shelter fraud scandal put the pressure on defense lawyers in federal court Thursday, according to sibling publication the New York Law Journal.

The NYLJ's Mark Hamblett reports that during three-and-a-half hours of testimony before Southern District judge William H. Pauley III, "federal prosecutors tried to force Susan Brune and Laurie Edelstein of Brune & Richard to admit they skirted their ethical obligations when they failed to promptly tell the judge before deliberations began that they strongly suspected or knew a juror was guilty of misconduct."

Brune and Edelstein both expressed "regret" that a July 2011 brief seeking retrial for their client, former banker David Parse, failed to note that their firm had, prior to deliberations, investigated juror Catherine Conrad, a suspended lawyer with a criminal history and an ex-convict husband who represented at voir dire that she was a stay-at-home housewife with an undergraduate degree, according to Hamblett's reporting.

Instead, the brief stated their investigation was "prompted" by the disclosure of a bizarre letter sent posttrial by Conrad to the lead prosecutor in the case in which Conrad revealed details about deliberations and offering "KUDOS to you and your team."

On Thursday, Hamblett notes, Brune continued to insist that she had no obligation to inform the court at the time of the firm's predeliberation inquiries into Juror #1 because the attorneys were not convinced that Conrad was the suspended lawyer with the same name. Brune would only acknowledge that the brief had "shortcomings," according to Hamblett.

All the lawyers for the four defendants convicted last May of selling bogus tax shelters to wealthy clients argue that Conrad's lies merit a new trial for former Jenkens & Gilchrist attorneys Paul Daugerdas and Donna Guerin, former BDO Seidman CEO Denis Field, and Parse, formerly with Deutsche Bank Alex.Brown.

Read the complete New York Law Journal story here.


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