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The Champion

September-October 2012 , Page 52 

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The Most Effective Opening Statement Ever Given?

By Christopher R. Hall

In January 2012, a team of defense attorneys treated white collar practitioners to what may have been the most effective opening statements ever given in the prosecution of a business organization.1 The team — led by a cadre of former federal prosecutors — outlined their clients’ defenses to a federal jury in United States of America v. Stryker Biotechet al. on Thursday, January 12th and Friday, January 13th. That weekend — before the government had finished examining its first witness — the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts had the wisdom and courage to dismiss all 13 felony counts against the company, and all counts against all individual defendants. As part of this accommodation, Styker Biotech pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor misbranding in violation of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and paid a $15 million fine. To put this in perspective, the company, if convicted, would have faced a nine-figure fine, exclusion from federal health programs (th

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