The Manhattan District Attorney’s office will drop charges against former Dewey & LeBoeuf junior manager Zachary Warren under a one-year deferred prosecution agreement.
Warren’s agreement, signed Tuesday, provides that he complete 350 hours of community service, likely in Washington, D.C. If he complies, prosecutors will move to dismiss charges of scheme to defraud and conspiracy in a year.
This is a second deal the district attorney’s office has made with a Dewey & LeBoeuf defendant.
Warren’s agreement has no restrictions on practicing law. His attorneys announced he will start as an associate this fall at Williams & Connolly. Warren is represented by Paul Shechtman and William Murphy, partners at Zuckerman Spaeder.
In March 2014, prosecutors announced an indictment with more than 100 counts against Warren and three Dewey executives, Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders, alleging the four took part in a scheme to defraud the firm’s lenders and creditors. Warren’s trial was separated from the three executives’.
After a five-month trial, a jury declared a mistrial against the three executives, and the DA’s office subsequently dropped multiple lower level charges against all four defendants.
Last month, Davis, the firm’s ex-chairman, signed a non-prosecution agreement, under which he will avoid a retrial. He cannot practice law for five years in New York, and he may never appear before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The retrial of the two remaining Dewey defendants has been set for September before Acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz.
The DA’s office had claimed Warren helped plan fraudulent accounting entries and took part in covering them up. He was scheduled to go to trial next month.
Warren left Dewey in mid-2009 to attend Georgetown University Law Center, before the firm’s private bond offering and its 2012 collapse. Many legal observers questioned the charges against the junior manager, who was 29 when he was indicted, and many lawyers privately criticized the DA’s case.
In the deferred prosecution agreement, Warren maintains his innocence of any crime, while the DA’s office maintains that “[Warren's] guilt would be proven by evidence that he knew about Dewey’s covenants, how Dewey accounted for fees and disbursements, and about the accounting scheme at Dewey,” as well as that he took part in aspects of the scheme.
Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement that Warren’s agreement is “unrelated to the strength of the case.”
“We are confident that, had this case proceeded to trial, we would have met our burden of proof,” she said. “While the crimes with which Mr. Warren are charged are serious, his overall culpability is different from that of the remaining defendants, and we believe he engaged in that conduct at the direction of his supervisor, former chief financial officer Joel Sanders.”
In assessing resources and the interests of justice as the prosecution prepares for the retrial of Sanders and DiCarmine, Vollero said, “We believe today’s outcome is the fair and appropriate resolution at this juncture.”
Paul Shechtman, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder who represents Zachary Warren, in Manhattan criminal court in 2015NYLJ/Rick Kopstein
Warren’s agreement includes no conditions that he cooperate with prosecutors.
“It strikes me as unlikely that either side will call him [as a trial witness] as he wasn’t involved in any wrongdoing at the Dewey firm,” Shechtman said.
Shechtman and Murphy said in a statement that they are “deeply pleased that the district attorney’s office has decided to dismiss the charges against Zachary Warren.”
“Zach is an extraordinarily talented young lawyer of the highest integrity, who has a bright future ahead of him,” his attorneys said. “We are gratified that the district attorney’s office has recognized that the equities of this case and the interests of justice dictate the resolution achieved today.”
Andrew Frisch, an attorney representing Sanders who runs his own white-collar boutique, said Warren’s agreement does not put pressure on his client to reach his own deal.
“There were four indicted,” Frisch said. “Two deferred. The other two have had over 90 counts either resolved in their favor or deadlocked.”
DiCarmine’s attorney, Bryan Cave partner Austin Campriello, said they are happy for Warren and wish him well.
“We hope this resolution reflects a thoughtful and fair continuing reassessment by the district attorney’s office of the entire prosecution that will ultimately result in Mr. DiCarmine also getting a fair and appropriate resolution similar to those given to” Davis and Warren, he said.
In an interview, Campriello said he has had no negotiations with prosecutors since the last court appearance in January.