Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toyota defense counsel Matthew Fishbein leaps to the defense of the SD NY prosecutors

Lots of fat rats drinking their fill of cream.
All from the same big bowl.

Six months to the day since he and his D&P colleagues accepted the Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ on behalf of his client, Toyota, now comes defense counsel Matt Fishbein leaping to the defense of his former colleagues in the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of NY, where he opines that it is really, TRULY! not the fault of the prosecutors and their political appointee bosses that the dirtiest-crook executives are not prosecuted these days.

He claims that prosecutors are pressured into investigating "marginal cases" of corporate misconduct that may have been high-profile scandals in the media but lack the evidence necessary for successful criminal prosecution. (And where have we heard this "no evidence" shtick before? Toyota executives whine under oath "there is no evidence of ETCS SUA...," while the DOJ investigator told me in February 2014 that he did not know the spelling of  Michael Barr's name, which is, to me, compelling evidence that they were not looking for evidence...Meanwhile, I really wonder what Matt and his colleagues did with the evidence that I KNOW THAT THEY HAVE.)

Matt Fishbein smiling. 

Matt tries to explain why prosecutors are treating executives with kid gloves, and no prosecutions, while the prosecutors busy themselves drawing up DPA and NPA agreements with corporations instead. He says that individuals hire fierce lawyers who convince the prosecutors that their time would be better spent chasing corporations that will cave in more easily. Individuals who must be tried by jury to convict are simply too tough for prosecutors to tackle, he says, when they lack evidence needed to win in court. Instead they can just have a cake walk, exerting leverage on corporate defendants who will pony up big fines without much of a fuss. The corporations are represented, of course, by the likes of Matt himself, so things go oh so smoothly.

These apologetics sound very odd indeed, as if perchance his former colleagues in the SD NY have conjured a powerful white collar defense lawyer to help them pass through the rings of fire from Matt Taibbi, numerous other critics of the DOJ's unreasonable gentleness with Wall Street's thieves, and more recent comments against weak prosecutors by none other than the federal judges on some of these cases: William H. Pauley III and Jed S. Rakoff, who spoke out with some criticism along with some excuses.

Meanwhile, focusing on the overall disarray among federal prosecutors and in the DOJ, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has reported on DOJ attorneys who violated standards, where its FOIA requests have turned up some very troubling misconduct and opacity that is chillingly familiar to Toyota SUA activists who have observed NHTSA's spinelessness for some time. Why can't our government agencies, the DOJ among them, do the jobs they are supposed to be doing!

An internal affairs office at the Justice Department has found that, over the last decade, hundreds of federal prosecutors and other Justice employees violated rules, laws, or ethical standards governing their work.The violations include instances in which attorneys who have a duty to uphold justice have, according to the internal affairs office, misled courts, withheld evidence that could have helped defendants, abused prosecutorial and investigative power, and violated constitutional rights.
From fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2013, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) documented more than 650 infractions, according to a Project On Government Oversight review of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and from OPR reports
As I read articles like this, and realize that I have touched only the tip of a very large iceberg of disgusting facts about the incompetance and corruption among many types of American government officials, I begin to feel a sense of hopelessness toward the government in general. I apolgize to American readers who may find my discovery and writing about these matters to be laughably out of date. (I paid almost no attention to American public discourse and govt-corp malfeasance for the ten or 15 years prior to my ordeal with the Toyota documents.) I can't solve the massive problems of the US government by writing about them. Maybe I should just go back to the farm already!

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