In-House Counsel

Backdating Backlash: Ex-GC Sues McAfee, Claims Scapegoating; Another Sees Win


Two former general counsel caught up in backdating probes are fighting back.

In the case of Kent Roberts, the former general counsel of McAfee Inc., the fight is being waged in a lawsuit filed yesterday in San Francisco federal court. Roberts, acquitted last year in a criminal backdating case, claims his former company made him a scapegoat to divert attention away from the company’s board and its then-CEO, according to Bloomberg, the San Jose Business Journal and Courthouse News Service. He was the only McAfee officer indicted in the backdating probe.

Roberts says McAfee destroyed his reputation by giving investigators incomplete information in a campaign “literally dubbed … Project Shield,” according to Courthouse News Service. The suit claims defamation, invasion of privacy and malicious prosecution.

Roberts’ lawyer, Hal Gillespie, told Bloomberg that Roberts was fired from his new job with another company when he was indicted, and has been unable to find work since then. The SEC dropped civil charges against Roberts after his acquittal.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in San Jose, Calif., dismissed a civil backdating suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Susan Skaer, the former general counsel of Mercury Interactive, the Recorder reports. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel said the SEC may bring new charges that are more specific.

Skaer now goes by the last name of Tanner. Her lawyer, Melinda Haag, told the Recorder, “We’re hopeful the SEC will understand that the case against Susan should simply be dismissed.”

Prior Coverage

ABAJournal.com: “As 4 GCs Fight Backdating Charges, Others at Risk in Mortgage Fraud Cases”

ABAJournal.com: “SEC Drops Backdating Suit Against Former McAfee GC”

ABAJournal.com: “Jurors Acquitted Ex-McAfee GC in Backdating Case Because of Intent Issues”

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-GC Accused of Backdating”

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