Lawyers Accuse Justice Department Of Violating Business Liberties


Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh says that overreaching prosecutorial methods and the rapid expansion of criminal laws are threatening the civil liberties of U.S. businesses, reports “The present criminal laws, in my view, are in a shambles,” Thornburgh said at the Washington Legal Foundation. “It's compounded by the wide latitude given to prosecutors.” Thornburgh spoke on a report by the foundation, “Federal Erosion of Business Civil Liberties, second edition.”

Eric Grannon, counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division in 2003 and 2004, said the Justice Department was making increased use of questionable prosecution practices. Specifically, he said that prosecutors were using outside “leverage” beyond the actual facts of the case against defendants and stretching the existing guidelines concerning prosecutorial tactics. Grannon cited the case of former Brocade Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gregory Reyes, in which he said prosecutors went so far as to rely on statements made by Reyes' lawyers to the media as evidence that Reyes knew back-dating was illegal. Grannon also questioned whether the Justice Department should have approved the use of aggressive investigative techniques in the recent high-profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act sting case, in which 22 defendants were charged.

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