Attorney Fees

Defense Tab: At least $10 M

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An executive charged with a high-profile white-collar crime can expect to spend at least $10 million on his defense. And that’s on the low end.

That’s the conclusion in several legal briefs filed in the trial of 12 ex-KPMG employees charged with creating illegal tax shelters, the New York Law Journal reports. Judge Lewis Kaplan of New York City had asked for the estimate as he weighs how to penalize the government for improperly pressuring KPMG to cut off legal fees for the defendants.

Briefs by defense attorneys put the defense tab at anywhere from $10 million to $44 million, when the costs of an appeal and a possible retrial are included in the estimate.

Lawyer David Spears said he would hire an electronic evidence consultant to organize 22 million pages of electronic file in the case, if funds were available. He also would direct a team of at least four associates and four legal assistants to scour the documents identified as relevant by the consultant.

Prosecutors didn’t venture a guess, but did include the defense fees of some high-profile defendants in a footnote. Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling paid his lawyers $70 and former HealthSouth CEO paid about $21 million, the brief said.

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