Tag Archives: Anatomy of a Trial

The defense of Geoffrey Fieger (or How to win against towering odds)

As many of you know I recently defended Geoffrey Fieger, that “scurrilous rebel” who dared take on this administration, who, in fact, took them all on, from the President of the United States to the Supreme Court of Michigan—even Michigan’s Attorney General, and who, as might be expected, given the record of this administration for using the Department of Justice to rid itself of its political enemies, faced an indictment (the last official act of Attorney General Gonzales) containing ten felony counts including those catch-all entrapment charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.A federal court jury acquitted Mr. Fieger on all ten counts.

Even before the opening statements the federal district judge instructed the jury that what Mr. Fieger had freely admitted, namely, reimbursing his employees, his friends and family for their contributions to John Edwards’ campaign for president, was illegal. Yes, illegal. That should do him in since the only defense remaining was that he did not act knowingly and willfully when he made these reimbursements that were in excess of $100,000. Mr. Fieger, by consensus the most brilliant trial lawyer in Michigan (and perhaps in America), had run for governor and must have known very well what the law was and chose to violate it.

The government spared no horses to eradicate this pest once they were provided a starting place, which turned out to be one of Fieger’s former employees who claimed he was fired because he refused to play the reimbursement game. The government came down on their target with many questionable subpoenas to the banks of those who had contributed and been reimbursed, after which the government, in the dark of night, descended on the Fieger employees with 80 or more FBI and IRS agents, threatened them, interrogated them, hauled them before a grand jury for further interrogations that covered more than two years, and finally charged Mr. Fieger with the ten felony counts mentioned above.

They had him. They had his employees as their witnesses, nearly all of whom had been given immunity. They charged his partner, Ven Johnson, with most of the same felonies believing he would flip on Fieger to save his own hide. They had an air-tight case, one they visualized would produce the bloody hide of Geoffrey Fieger as a trophy for the prosecutors’ wall. What happened?

The Fieger team, David Nevin, my great associate, Geoffrey Fieger and myself will present a two-day seminar, “Anatomy of a Trial,” at my ranch on September 5, 6. The ranch is located nine miles east of Dubois, Wyoming, in the mountains. We will discuss the defense, the tactics, the overriding philosophy we teach at Trial Lawyers College in the defense of a criminal case. You will hear from Geoffrey Fieger on how it is to be a defendant in criminal case, to lose all control, to put one’s self into the hands of another lawyer. You will also hear from me and David Nevin on how it is to defend a fellow trial lawyer of the will and nature of Mr. Fieger. The trout fishing is good too.


  • September 4-7, 2008
    (with seminar presentations on Sept. 5,6)
    Thunderhead Ranch
    Dubois, WY
    Call 800.688.1611 to register
    Seminar fee: $2,500 – proceeds support
    Trial Lawyers College, a 501 3c non-profit institution