Stanley Brand Quoted in Law360 on Trial of Rep. Chaka Fattah

Stanley Brand, senior counsel in the litigation practice at Akin Gump, is quoted in the Law360 article “Feds Face Hard Sell As Complex Fattah Corruption Trial Opens,” which reports on the trial of Rep. Chaka Fattah that is scheduled to begin this month. Fattah, a 10-term congressman, is accused of conspiring with a group of political allies and staff members in a series of schemes to advance their political and financial interests.

Brand, a former general counsel to the House of Representatives, said proving the five defendants were conspiring as a cohesive criminal enterprise under federal racketeering laws could prove challenging for the government given each of their varying ties to Fattah and roles in the alleged corruption plots. “You have to show an agreement and you have to show acknowledgement somehow,” he said.

Brand also said it would be difficult to prove there was a viable racketeering conspiracy given the numerous actors and schemes cited in the indictment. With so much of the case riding on accounting records, however, he said it would be extremely important for some of the cooperating witnesses to establish a narrative.

“I’ve been in trials where the government has introduced check after check after check and the jury glazes over,” Brand said. “It’s a very dry presentation. At some point, you want a live witness to explain the story to the jury and to tie it to the defendants. My general rule is that documents don’t convict, testimony convicts.”