In July 2014, hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam’s younger brother was acquitted of insider trading charges, breaking a streak of 85 cases without a single defeat, making it quite clear that white collar criminal defense attorneys have an uphill battle.
Nobody likes losing.
Here are eight ways that a private investigator can help you come out as the winner in the battle.
Vetting Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can play a key role in the outcome of a white collar criminal defense case. There is nothing more exciting than punching holes in the background of a purported “expert.” There are a number of experts who have embellished and completely falsified professional and academic backgrounds – like the expert lip-reader with the fake degree.
Vetting the Defendant
Rest assured, the prosecutors are going to dig up every last detail they can about the defendant. It’s critical to get ahead in this game and gather as much intelligence as you can so you are not caught playing catch-up.
Vetting Key Cooperators
Because of the complexity of white collar criminal defense cases, government cooperators can play a critical role for the prosecution. Not-so-reliable cooperators or witnesses can be just the narrow opening you need to bring into question character, bias and credibility issues to sway the jury.
Interviews with key parties, character witnesses, fact witnesses, supporting witnesses, reluctant parties or eyewitnesses can play a crucial role in any white collar criminal defense case. While gathering details and information to support your case is crucial, so too is understanding what may not be so helpful.
Vetting the Jury
Even the avid experts on jury selection will tell you that picking a jury is a complete crapshoot. But obtaining critical details relating to the background of these jurors can help you make a more informed decision or may help you dismiss an undesirable juror in voir dire.
Secondly, an attorney’s job during a trial is to win over the jury. While that seems easier said than done, wouldn’t it be valuable if you knew their pain points?
Documents have become an integral part of any white collar criminal defense and, in some cases, that trail of paper can be overwhelming. While in most cases it might be more effective to hire a team of contract lawyers to review documents, investigators can conduct targeted inquiries based on information developed during the course of their investigation.
An attorney once told me that lawyers go to law school to learn about the law and that private investigators are trained to obtain facts. A private investigator can find difficult-to-find facts, witnesses or information to help support the defense while lawyers concentrate on the legal aspects of the case.
Providing a Different Point of View
Having worked on several white collar criminal defense cases, one thing’s for sure: attorneys and private investigators think differently. Having someone on your team who can provide a different point of view might be the difference between success and failure.
Sometimes, the people who bring a different point of view are the ones people want to listen to.