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White Collar Defense & Investigations

Irell & Manella LLP’s White Collar Defense & Investigations team has the experience and expertise to help business organizations, senior executives, directors, officers, and other individuals navigate criminal, civil and regulatory investigations wherever they arise. Our partners routinely represent clients in a broad array of matters involving government and regulatory investigations and prosecutions, including criminal, civil and regulatory matters. We have successfully defended numerous business organizations, directors, officers and other individuals in all stages of these matters, from compliance counseling through internal investigations, scrutiny by government authorities, and criminal and civil trials and appeals. Our specific expertise includes:

White Collar Criminal Defense: We have represented corporations and individuals in a wide variety of white collar criminal matters, from responses to government subpoenas for documents, deposition and grand jury testimony, to the defense of government prosecution and enforcement actions. Our representations have spanned courts and agencies across the country, at both the state and federal level.

Government Investigations: Irell has extensive experience assisting corporations and their executives in evaluating the underlying factual and legal issues that may lead to government action, developing strategies for responding to government investigations and, if necessary, defending against civil and criminal government prosecutions. We advise clients relating to investigations at all levels domestically, including local, state, federal and military, and all foreign authorities.

Internal Investigations: We have deep background assisting corporations, boards of directors and audit committees in conducting internal investigations in a wide variety of matters. Such investigations have been designed to locate potential fraud, abuse or other wrongdoing, and to counsel companies to develop effective strategies for defending against civil and criminal inquires, as well as prosecutions before they are initiated. In this area, we bring clients the unique perspective of how the facts and newly developed programs will be seen through the eyes of government officials, judges and prosecutors. Clients also benefit from our close collaboration with partners who regularly advise corporate boards on governance issues and related matters such as corporate law, tax, intellectual property and financings.


  • United States v. Stevens. As trial counsel, successfully defended the late Sen. Ted Stevens on criminal charges that he made false statements on federal disclosure forms. Obtained exculpatory evidence that ultimately led to the senator’s exoneration. The American Lawyer described the team’s work on the case as “one of the best criminal defense performances in memory, resulting in a heightened scrutiny of prosecutors that will affect the Justice Department for years to come.”*
  • United States v. Anthem, et al. & United States v. Aetna, et al. As lead trial and investigation counsel, defended a global professional services company in connection with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s investigation of the proposed mergers of Anthem with Cigna and Aetna with Humana and represented company in United States v. Anthem, et al. & United States v. Aetna, et al.*
  • United States v. Suhl. As co-lead counsel, defended the owner and CEO of a health care company on six counts of bribery, conspiracy, and honest services fraud. After a two-week federal criminal trial in Little Rock, Arkansas, in which two co-conspirators and cooperating witnesses testified against the client, the defendant was acquitted on two of the six counts.*
  • Baltimore Ravens. Successfully represented the Baltimore Ravens and several of its senior personnel in connection with the independent investigation conducted by former FBI Director Robert Mueller into the National Football League’s handling of the Ray Rice controversy and Mr. Rice’s grievance against the Ravens.*
  • In re Fannie Mae Litigation. Successfully defended the former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae in connection with a U.S. attorney criminal investigation into securities fraud. The U.S. attorney declined to prosecute. Also won summary judgment on all counts in a $2 billion securities class action case against the defendant.*
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mozilo et al., and other litigation. Served as lead counsel for Angelo Mozilo, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial Corporation, in dozens of shareholder and regulatory lawsuits and government investigations, which arose from the 2008 global financial crisis and losses suffered in the mortgage banking industry. Irell achieved dismissals in a number of the lawsuits brought by Countrywide’s institutional investors, and other shareholder cases were settled without any personal contribution from our client, including a nationwide class action settlement totaling $624 million. The U.S. Department of Justice ultimately decided to close its investigation of possible claims against Mr. Mozilo.
  • United States v. Thompson. As trial counsel, defended a Washington, D.C. businessman in connection with a U.S. attorney investigation into the financing of a 2010 “shadow campaign” on behalf of the city’s former mayor, Vincent Gray, and charges of obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations. Successfully negotiated a plea with a max cap of six months, which was later reduced to three months.*
  • United States v. Elliott. As lead trial counsel in Montgomery County, defended the accused in a weeklong trial on charges of attempted murder.*
  • Southern California Edison. As lead attorney investigator, defended Southern California Edison against civil and potential criminal exposure arising out of the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and the Montecito mudslides.*
  • As lead trial counsel, defended an individual on charges of theft and fraudulent misappropriation.*
  • In re Weatherford Litigation. Successfully defended the former chief financial officer of a major oil services company in connection with an SEC enforcement investigation involving allegations of accounting fraud, after which the SEC declined to bring any charges against the former chief financial officer.*
  • In re [Confidential]. Defending a doctor accused in a pending federal qui tam suit of overbilling patients for certain procedures at a pain management clinic.
  • State of Texas v. Hill. Successfully represented a prominent Texas businessman accused of making false statements in connection with a loan application. The criminal charges against the client were dismissed by the trial court.
  • In re [Confidential]. Successfully defended a for-profit college in arbitration in connection with state and federal investigations of allegedly false representations and fraudulent recruiting practices.*
  • United States v. Haas. Successfully represented the prominent owner of a large private machine tool company who was accused of a multimillion-dollar tax fraud and conspiracy.
  • United States v. Tafeen. Successfully represented a former executive vice president of Homestore, Inc., who was accused of securities fraud and insider trading.
  • United States v. Khan. Successfully represented a former CEO of a publicly traded technology company who was accused of multiple counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
  • United States v. Frantz. After a lengthy trial, won an acquittal for the client (a tax lawyer) on all five counts of tax evasion and conspiracy to evade taxes.
  • Successfully defended a leading cruise line company in a grand jury investigation regarding alleged environmental pollution.*

*Handled by a current Irell partner while at a former firm.

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