Eric Roth, a litigation partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, apparently was telling the Bank of America Corp. leadership one story about how difficult it would be to escape from the merger with Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., while singing quite a different tune to the federal government.

E-mails from Roth and in-house lawyers at the bank were among documents released last week from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating the merger. Roth and Bank of America representatives did not return calls for comment on this story.