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Three years ago, two similarly minded district court decisions rocked federal regulatory agencies and the Department of Justice (DOJ) by rejecting longstanding assumptions about the proper conduct of simultaneous civil and criminal investigations, commonly known as “parallel proceedings.” First, in United States v. Scrushy, 366 F. Supp.2d 1134, 1139 (N.D. Ala. 2005), the court said: “To be parallel, by definition, the separate investigations should be like side-by-side train tracks that never intersect.” Accordingly, the court dismissed perjury charges arising out of the defendant’s testimony in an SEC civil deposition because — prior to the deposition — SEC investigators had exchanged information with federal prosecutors, provided them expert assistance, and complied with certain of their requests.

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