Lawyers for Michael Scanlon today fired back at Greenberg Traurig, saying the firm is not an "uninvolved third party" and should be precluded from collecting tens of millions of dollars from him for his role in a fraud scheme.
Scanlon's lawyers, including Ropes & Gray partner Stephen Braga, said in court papers (PDF) filed this morning in Washington’s federal trial court that Greenberg Traurig is taking “every opportunity to bash” Scanlon.
The firm wants Scanlon to pay more than $17 million for his role in a conspiracy to defraud a group of Native-American tribes. Greenberg Traurig paid the victim tribes to settle threatened and pending litigation. The firm’s attorneys at Williams & Connolly argue that Scanlon, a former business partner with Jack Abramoff, should be required to repay the firm.
“This is not the time or place for pejorative accusations, but it does seem more than a bit ironic that GT—the employer of Jack Abramoff and his team of numerous other members of the firm who have pled or been found guilty as a result of Scanlon’s cooperation—should now see fit to self-servingly label this as Scanlon’s ‘notorious fraud,’” Braga said today.
Scanlon’s attorneys said Greenberg Traurig hired Scanlon as a consultant and regularly billed his time to its clients. “Much as GT would like the historical record to be otherwise, it is not an uninvolved third-party here,” Braga said.
Scanlon’s lawyers also argue their restitution challenge was timely filed on March 14, one day after the deadline Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle set. March 13 was a Sunday. Braga said if the lawyers in the case had “taken the time to recognize that March 13th was a Sunday, they would simply have adjusted the date to Monday, March 14 as there was no controversy over the date selection process.”
Greenberg Traurig’s lawyers said Scanlon has not provided any factual support about why he should not pay back the firm for its losses. Braga said today that the firm’s allegation “misses the mark.”
Huvelle, Braga said, set up a two-part process. In the first part, a judge must rule whether Scanlon has a legal right to raise an objection to reimbursing Greenberg Traurig.
“If Scanlon has no legal right to raise the objection, then the public record need not be littered with factual allegations about what GT knew and when concerning Scanlon’s payment of referral fees to Abramoff and others at the firm,” Braga said. “If Scanlon is found to have the right to pursue the objection, then those facts will indeed have to be addressed thereafter.”
Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is presiding over the restitution dispute. Huvelle, a former Williams & Connolly partner, recused herself. Lamberth has not ruled on whether to allow Scanlon to pursue his objection.