DOJ Releases New Guidelines on Prosecution of Business Organizations

April 23, 2003 Advisory

On January 20, 2003, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson issued revised guidelines for the federal prosecution of business entities. The changes to the guidelines extend the Department of Justice's effort to "deputize" corporate counsel as adjuncts to the government. As one Assistant United States Attorney recently said at a securities fraud seminar, "It's better for us to have defense counsel do the work. They often have greater resources than the government and do not have the same Fifth Amendment problems we run into in interviewing employees." Because prosecutors across the country will rely on these guidelines in exercising their discretion whether and how to charge a business entity, they are a must-read for any attorney who represents corporate clients in government investigations.