Appellate Practice

Pro Bono Team Attacks Exec's Prosecution

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A team of pro bono attorneys from four different firms has taken up the cause of a convicted Dynegy Inc. executive and filed a habeas corpus petition seeking his release from prison.

By pressuring Dynegy, under threat of prosecution, to renege on its promise of paying defense costs, the federal government “acted purposefully to sabotage” the defense of executive Jamie Olis and violated his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to due process, the pro bono team contends in the petition and supporting memorandum. Filed Friday in federal court in Houston, the document is provided by the Wall Street Journal.

The filing, which cites new evidence allegedly obtained when Olis’ attorney sued Dynegy Inc. over the nonpayment of Olis’ attorney fees, relies on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in the KPMG case, notes the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). He dismissed charges against 13 accounting firm executives in a tax shelter fraud case after finding that the government pressured KPMG not to pay their attorney fees, as discussed in an earlier post.

Olis, 42, was convicted in 2003 of fraud and conspiracy for his role in helping to arrange a $300,000 Dynegy loan that was disguised as ordinary cash flow. He is serving a six-year sentence.

The pro bono appellate team is led by plaintiffs lawyer John O’Quinn.

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