Arthur Andersen, LLP v. United States, U.S. Sup. Ct., No. 04-368, Amicus Curiae. In this case, in which one of the last remaining big accounting firms was essentially driven out of business, the entire conviction hinged on edits made to one memo by one in-house lawyer--edits that any reasonable person would consider permissible and even necessary to the representation of a client. Among many other arguments, NACDL urged in its brief that the trial judge's jury instruction on obstruction of justice criminalized entirely lawful conduct.
United States v. Brown, 5th Cir., No. 05-20319. NACDL Amicus Curiae brief arguing that the appellants were prosecuted under novel theories that expanded the wire fraud statute, i.e., that the appellants engaged in a scheme to deprive Enron of a “property right” to receive a full and fair report of the corporation’s “full and accurate economic information” and deprived the company of an intangible right of honest services of its employees. Brief argues that the wire fraud statute (18 U.S.C. §1343) neither creates nor protects a “property right” to “accurate financial information”; that the phrase “scheme to defraud” as used in the statute is limited to schemes in which the defendant obtains money or property; and last, that the jury instructions erroneously extended liability for deprivation of honest services to defendants who worked openly with company employees to the company’s and shareholders’ benefit. Author: James E. Boren, Baton Rouge, La.