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In a court filing on Monday, David Becker, the former general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission, named a lawyer from Latham & Watkins as his new defense attorney. Until now, Becker and his family had been listed as pro se, defending themselves. Becker chose William Baker III, a securities and white collar partner in Latham’s Washington, D.C., office to handle the clawback suit filed by the trustee in the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy case. The trustee sued Becker, his brothers Daniel and William, and their mother’s estate to recover some $1.5 million in profits made from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Baker said he couldn’t discuss the case but did confirm that he is trying to negotiate a possible settlement. To allow those talks to move forward, the trustee on Monday stipulated to delaying the deadline for Becker’s response to the suit until October 31. It was this filing that contained Baker’s name as defense attorney. Before going into private practice, Baker was associate director of the SEC’s enforcement division, where he worked for 15 years. Becker still faces a possible investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice after questions were raised about his failure to recuse himself from SEC discussions about the Madoff matter while he was general counsel. He resigned the post in February and returned to private practice with his old firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In March, SEC inspector general David Kotz opened a probe into Becker’s possible conflict of interest, and last month forwarded his report to the Justice Department for possible pursuit of criminal charges. Becker has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong and that he obtained the chief ethics counsel’s permission to work on the Madoff issues. See also: “Justice Department Will Investigate Former SEC General Counsel Over Madoff Money,” CorpCounsel, September 2011.

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