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May 11, 2009

Bail and sentencing issues take center stage in Dreier case

This New York Law Journal article, headlined "Guilty Plea Expected, but Dreier Seeks to Stay Free a Little Longer," details how another high-profile white-collar prosecution is about to become a case about bail and sentencing.  Here are the details:

Disgraced attorney Marc S. Dreier will journey this afternoon from midtown Manhattan to a downtown federal courthouse, where he is expected to plead guilty to peddling fictitious notes to investors.

It is uncertain whether Dreier will be allowed to return to his penthouse apartment at 151 E. 58th St. before imposition of what will surely be a lengthy prison term.  But the principal job of defense lawyer Gerald Shargel will be to keep his client out of jail for as long as possible.

Starting with the December arrest of the former head of now-defunct, 250-attorney Dreier LLP, Shargel waged an extended battle with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Streeter to have his client released from pretrial detention, eventually prevailing when Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Feb. 5 that Dreier could be confined to his apartment under guard pending resolution of the case. 

"We're going to have an issue about bail pending sentencing because the government is seeking to have him remanded and I'm trying to keep him out," Shargel said Friday.  The problem for Shargel, who met with his client at his apartment on Thursday to prepare for today's hearing, is that, once Dreier pleads guilty, the burden shifts to the defense on the question of remand....

At the hearing scheduled for 5 pm today before Rakoff, Dreier is expected to admit to every count in an indictment charging him with selling fictitious notes to at least 13 different funds and three individuals between 2004 and 2008: money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, one substantive count of securities fraud and five substantive counts of wire fraud.

Dreier, 58, faces a sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the most serious charges against him, but Shargel's hope is for a sentence that leaves open the possibility that he will get out of prison before the end of his life.   In a recent proceeding, Shargel stressed to Judge Rakoff that his client was prepared to accept full responsibility for his actions, a fact that could be considered in his favor at sentencing.

Shargel would not comment on sentencing issues Friday. But with a client who was caught red-handed, the veteran defense attorney has indicated from the outset that the case would be resolved short of trial with a guilty plea.  "Given the facts and circumstances of the case, I thought both the public and the people involved in the matter had every right to know what our position was," Shargel said Friday.

May 11, 2009 at 08:13 AM | Permalink

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