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DOJ’S CRIMINAL DIVISION CHIEF TO DEPART Christopher Wray, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, has told new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he plans to step down after nearly four years at the DOJ. Wray, a former federal prosecutor in Atlanta, joined the department in May 2001 as a top aide to then-Deputy AG Larry Thompson and was named to run the Criminal Division in May 2003, succeeding Michael Chertoff. During Wray’s tenure, the Justice Department won its first criminal convictions related to the accounting scandal at Enron Corp. and brought charges against former top Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. “I may have been here for four years, but it’s been a lifetime worth of challenges,” says Wray, who also played key roles in the department’s aggressive response to Sept. 11, the anthrax investigation, and the passage of the USA Patriot Act. “Chris Wray . . . has been a steady leader of the Division in a time of challenge, and his hard work has helped produce great successes in the war on terror and in the fight against crime,” Gonzales said in a statement. Wray’s colleagues, who credit the 38-year-old lawyer with improving relations between Main Justice and federal prosecutors across the country, say his shoes will be tough to fill. Deputy AG James Comey says Wray made a point of interacting with line attorneys in the Criminal Division. “He just has the right mix of practical experience, a touch for people, and book learning,” Comey says. IRS Commissioner Mark Everson says that Wray was able to defuse the usual rivalries between turf-conscious federal law enforcement agencies. Wray plans to remain in his post until a successor is named. Possible replacements include Alice Fisher, a Latham & Watkins partner and Chertoff’s former deputy, and McGuireWoods partner Richard Cullen, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. — Vanessa Blum HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS Washington may seem to be a long way from the glitz of Hollywood, but a surprising number of Justice Department officials have managed to bridge the cultural gap. The latest to leave government for a plum job in the entertainment sector is David Israelite, a top aide to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Israelite has signed on as president and chief executive officer of the National Music Publishers’ Association and spent his first week on the job in Los Angeles, where he attended the Grammy Awards and partied with such luminaries as actor Jamie Foxx and singer Alicia Keys. Last year, Israelite, 36, headed a DOJ task force that sought to protect music and movies from IP theft. “This is an industry that is entering a unique period where it has significant issues in the courts, Congress, and the administration,” he says. Meanwhile, former DOJ communications chief Mark Corallo has become an independent PR consultant, helping the film and music industries handle media relations for the upcoming Supreme Court arguments in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd., a closely watched file-sharing case. — Vanessa Blum BAKER’S BACK Howard Baker Jr., the 79-year-old former Senate majority leader from Tennessee, isn’t slowing down. After completing a three-and-a-half-year stint as ambassador to Japan, Baker returned last week to Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, the current incarnation of the law firm his grandfather founded in 1888. Baker will be working in the public policy and international affairs practices. Firm chair Ben Adams says he is “delighted” to have Baker return and hopes he will bring in good business to the firm. Baker first joined the firm in 1949, leaving after 17 years for a long stretch of public service, including three terms as a senator; vice chair of the Senate Watergate Committee; delegate to the United Nations; and chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan. — Emma Schwartz PRISON PLAN Despite allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and ongoing litigation over the legality of military detentions there, the Bush administration has no plans to abandon use of the military base as a prison for terror suspects. On Feb. 14, it asked Congress for $40 million to construct a permanent medium-security prison at the U.S. naval base. The line item is buried in an $81.9 billion package requested by the White House to supplement the Defense Department‘s 2005 budget to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new facility is expected to hold approximately 200 prisoners and has been designed in accordance with standards set by the American Correctional Association. Of the roughly 550 prisoners currently held at Guantánamo Bay, the majority now reside in Camp Delta, where most are kept in rows of metal mesh cells. Plans for the new facility, known as Camp Six, were first reported in Legal Times in October 2004. At that time, Guantánamo Bay officials estimated the cost of building the prison to be $24 million. — Vanessa Blum INSURANCE POLICY Insurance partner Frank Winston and associates John Casciano and Hillary Coombs are leaving Shaw Pittman‘s Northern Virginia office for the D.C. office of Steptoe & Johnson. Winston, a co-founder of the 23-attorney insurance group, gave notice of his departure just two weeks after Shaw Pittman and Pillsbury Winthrop announced plans to merge. Client conflicts in the two firms’ insurance practices were an issue in the merger, since Pillsbury Winthrop represents policyholders and Shaw Pittman has traditionally represented insurance companies. “The potential for [client] conflicts was out there,” Winston says. Steptoe managing partner Roger Warin calls the move “a good fit,” noting that one of Winston’s most significant clients, St. Paul Travelers Inc., is also a Steptoe client. Diane Zyats, a spokeswoman for Shaw Pittman, says the firm will “wish them the best” after their departure. — Jason McLure CITIZEN CLAIMS An appeals court decision will make it easier for citizens groups to sue corporations for environmental cleanup suits involving unregulated dumping. On Feb. 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled in favor of the Interfaith Community Organization over Honeywell International Inc. The coalition of New Jersey churches, some of whose parishioners live near the contaminated site at issue in the case, first sued Honeywell’s predecessor, Allied Signal, in 1995 for failing to clean up 1.5 million tons of toxic industrial waste on tidal wetlands. In affirming a district court’s 2003 decision ordering Honeywell to clean up the land, the court lowered the bar for citizens to sue under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Interfaith, represented by Kathy Millian of D.C.’s Terris, Pravlik & Millian, won $4.5 million in costs, with $7.3 million going to W.R. Grace, which owned land contaminated by Honeywell and had settled with Honeywell for $62.5 million before the 3rd Circuit’s decision. W.R. Grace was represented by Christopher Marraro, a Howrey Simon Arnold & White partner in D.C. who says that “Grace and the [churches] were on the same side.” But Millian wasn’t so quick to give credit for the victory to Grace and Howrey, calling the suit “this ragtag group of citizens represented by our ragtag public interest law firm against the Goliath of Honeywell.” — Lily Henning NON-PROFITEERING DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has decided to mark its new global status by tackling some of the world’s most pressing social problems. The firm has established a nonprofit subsidiary devoted solely to international pro bono work. “What we are doing is pretty unusual, but the need is tremendous,” says Sheldon Krantz, a DLA Piper partner who will head the new entity, New Perimeter. DLA Piper lawyers will provide sustained legal support to help with a variety of issues like health care, human rights, and economic development. Krantz says the group hopes to take on three to five projects this year, including legal reform in Kosovo. The firm has made an initial commitment of 13,000 attorney hours to support New Perimeter projects. Krantz says the firm spun off a subsidiary to partner with other nonprofits perhaps wary of working with a law firm. But Lloyd Mayer, a tax partner at Caplin & Drysdale, says the move will also help shield the firm from liability for the nonprofit’s work. — Bethany Broida FOX FIRE A satellite television provider has filed suit against the Fox News Network, claiming that the channel breached its contract to allow broadcasting of its programming to Middle Eastern and African countries. In a complaint filed Feb. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Orbit Communications Co., based in the Virgin Islands, argues that it had a four-year deal to offer Fox to its customers beginning on Jan. 1. But on Feb. 10, Fox unexpectedly cut off its broadcast, claiming that it already had an exclusive deal with Arab Digital Distribution Co. — a competing satellite distributor. Matthew Kirtland of the D.C. office of Fulbright & Jaworski represents Orbit. Fox, represented by Steven Mintz of New York’s Mintz & Gold, claims that the contract allowed Fox to drop Orbit’s feed if another exclusive deal was in place. — Tom Schoenberg

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