Former Dewey Leader Hires Criminal Defense Lawyer

, The Am Law Daily

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Austin Campriello
Austin Campriello

It's been more than 18 months since Dewey & LeBeouf sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but the fallout from the firm's demise continues.

In the latest sign that at least one former Dewey leader may harbor concerns about being targeted in any prosecution related to the firm's collapse, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine—who worked closely with former Dewey chairman Steven Davis—has retained a criminal defense lawyer.

In court papers filed this week in at least two civil actions naming DiCarmine as a defendant, Bryan Cave partner Austin Campriello is listed as his new counsel. Campriello, who declined to comment Friday, is a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who joined Bryan Cave in 2002 when it merged with New York firm Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman.

Campriello has taken on cases involving racketeering, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, tax evasion, perjury, extortion, bribery, larceny, counterfeiting and murder, according to his Bryan Cave biography. In 2005, he represented former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, who was convicted of charges including grand larceny, conspiracy and securities fraud related to a $100 million fraud scheme.

Though the largest law firm collapse in U.S. history has not yet led to any criminal charges, a month before Dewey's May 29, 2012, bankruptcy filing, firm representatives confirmed that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office had launched an investigation into "allegations of wrongdoing by our former chairman, Steven Davis."

The district attorney's office has repeatedly declined to comment on the existence or status of an investigation. The New York Times, without identifying its source, reported in February that Davis and DiCarmine were the focus of the probe, and a recent New Yorker feature story about Dewey's collapse said a grand jury had convened in September for a six-month term to hear "evidence and testimony about whether partners and managers in the firm falsified audits and records in order to be able to pay millions of dollars in bonuses or income." The New Yorker added that no specific names had been mentioned in relation to the grand jury proceeding and that neither DiCarmine nor Davis had been contacted by the D.A.

Until now, DiCarmine has been represented in the Dewey bankruptcy and in related cases by Hughes Hubbard & Reed bankruptcy partner Ned Bassen, who continues to represent Dewey's former CFO, Joel Sanders, in Dewey-related matters.

DiCarmine and Sanders filed separate motions this week seeking to dismiss one of those cases, a suit launched earlier this year by former Dewey partner Londell McMillan that accuses the two men and Davis of assisting in the creation of what McMillan claims was a fraudulent loan agreement. McMillan initially sued Barclays Bank in February, claiming he never agreed to take out the $540,000 loan in question to cover his capital contribution to the firm that Barclays is now demanding he repay.

Asked about Campriello's appearance in the Barclays case, Bassen said by email Friday, "It has been decided that Joel Sanders and Stephen DiCarmine should have separate counsel. Their interests are still aligned."

Davis continues to be represented in all Dewey-related civil actions by Kirkland & Ellis and in criminal matters by white-collar criminal defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz, a name partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello. According to our past reports, Davis, who has denied all accusations of wrongdoing, hired Morvillo in 2012 when the allegations by the D.A. first surfaced.

In the wake of Dewey's collapse, Sanders moved to Florida to become Greenspoon Marder's chief financial officer. DiCarmine is pursuing a fashion career and taking classes at Parsons The New School for Design in Manhattan. Davis remains unemployed.

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