THE PROSECUTORS by James Stewart


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From the author of The Partners (inside major law firms), a thoughtful and thought-provoking account of six cases prosecuted and/or investigated by Department of Justice lawyers. The cases covered here--McDonnell-Douglas (bribery); Hitachi (theft of trade secrets); Newman (insider trading); CBS murders (crime cover-up); Bank of Nova Scotia (tax fraud) and the investigation of Edwin Meese--are rife with fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation, not all of it committed by the defendants. The prosecutors' immense power and the far-reaching effects of the use--and misuse--of that power are reflected in all the cases, but nowhere more clearly than in the prosecution of McDonnell-Douglas, begun in the Carter Administration when the Justice Department investigated the corporation's sales of aircraft to foreign countries for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Despite formidable opposition from highly skilled, highly paid defense lawyers, the Department obtained indictments against the corporation and--far more important and precedent-setting--against named corporate officers. Then, Carter was out and Reagan--who had strongly criticized the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act--was in. The scene and the cast of characters changed. Shunting aside the attorneys prosecuting McDonnell-Douglas, Reagan's team took over the case, settled it out of court, accepted the corporation's guilty plea (plus a fine) and dropped the indictments against all individual defendants except one. The Meese investigation--before his appointment as Attorney General--is particularly enlightening in view of subsequent events underlining the appointment's foreseeable and disastrous consequences. Hard-hitting and fact-packed, this book gives riveting reconstructions of the cases and of the internecine warfare in a Department where jockeying for position is everybody's sport--and currying favor is (almost) everybody's dish.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster