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Wayne State Law School professor Wayne Henning calls the Broadcom stock options backdating prosecution “ one of the strangest white-collar crime cases in years.” He’s right — and it’s not over yet. Today, Santa Ana, Calif., federal district court Judge Cormac Carney — who has already put a stop to the criminal prosecution of two Broadcom defendants — will decide whether to dismiss the indictment of former Broadcom CFO William Ruehle, who has been on trial since October. That ruling, moreover, could have an impact on the upcoming accounting fraud case against a fourth Broadcom defendant, co-founder Henry Nicholas III. The Ruehle trial has been nothing short of a fiasco for the prosecution. Its problems started when Ruehle’s lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom won a ruling from Carney that granted immunity to two Broadcom execs — co-founder Henry Samueli and former general counsel David Dull — after their lawyers said they would otherwise assert their Fifth Amendments rights on the stand. Prosecutor Andrew Stolper contacted Dull’s attorneys to discuss the ex-GC’s testimony. But Carney interpreted Stolper’s warnings to Dull’s lawyers to be an improper effort to influence what Dull would say to jurors, and the judge ruled that as a result of Stolper’s call, prosecutors could not charge Dull for alleged crimes related to the backdating. (Dull had never been criminally charged.) Then Samueli testified, and matters only got worse for the government. Back in 2008 Carney rejected and ridiculed a proposed plea deal for Samueli that called for the Broadcom co-founder to receive a sentence of five years’ probation for lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission. But after Samueli testified at the Ruehle trial, Carney said he was throwing out the government’s criminal case against Samueli, finding that Samueli “didn’t make a false material statement” to the SEC. On Monday, Skadden made two motions to dismiss the case against Ruehle, one based on what Skadden lawyers call the “culmination of prosecutorial misconduct,” and the other based on lack of evidence. The government’s responses to the Skadden motions are here and here. The courtroom will be full today when Carney rules on whether to let jurors decide Ruehle’s fate. One spectator of note, according to The Orange County Register, may be Brendan Sullivan of Williams & Connolly, who is defending Broadcom co-founder Nicholas in the government’s accounting fraud case. The Register is reporting that the judge told Sullivan to attend today’s Ruehle hearing because it may have a bearing on Nicholas’ case, which is scheduled for trial in February. If Carney denies Skadden’s motions to dismiss Ruehle’s indictment, closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday.

This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.

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