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TORKELSEN PLEA HEARING RESCHEDULED It was fairly clear that Washington, D.C., prosecutors had succeeded in their attempt to bring action against John Torkelsen � the former star expert witness for securities plaintiff firm Milberg Weiss � when an Oct. 21 plea hearing was set last month. But in a motion last week to postpone that hearing, lawyers for Torkelsen and the government made it official. “The parties state that they have reached a plea agreement in this matter, but need to resolve one outstanding issue prior to the plea hearing,” said a letter filed last week by the prosecutors. While it’s not clear what the issue is � U.S. attorney’s office does not comment on pending plea deals, nor would a lawyer representing Torkelsen � it seems unlikely to sidetrack the case. “While the parties do not anticipate having any difficulty resolving this issue, it is necessary that defense counsel meet with the defendant about it,” the letter said. “Ralph Caccia, lead criminal counsel for the defendant, is currently overseas and will not be available in sufficient time prior to the scheduled plea hearing.” Torkelsen, who is widely thought to be cooperating with Los Angeles prosecutors’ efforts to try former Milberg Weiss lawyers, has ended up in legal trouble for allegedly stealing money invested by the U.S. Small Business Association. The theft � alleged in the SBA civil suits, in addition to the D.C. criminal charge � came in connection with an investment fund that Torkelsen ran, which was funded largely with contributions by plaintiff securities lawyers. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has rescheduled the hearing for Nov. 3. � Justin Scheck SHEPPARD ADDS TAX LAWYER FROM ERNST LOS ANGELES � Former Ernst & Young partner Joseph Doloboff joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton’s Century City office this week as a partner in the firm’s tax, employee benefits, trusts and estate planning group. Doloboff, also formerly the head of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s West Coast tax practice, said he was attracted to Sheppard, Mullin because of its growth in recent years. Sheppard, Mullin was looking for a tax partner who could work with its corporate and entertainment attorneys to give “one-stop shopping,” he said. “The opportunities for someone who does the tax side here seem limitless,” Doloboff said. “The firm is growing at a rapid pace in a way that’s intelligent.” At Ernst & Young, Doloboff advised middle market companies on mergers and acquisitions, and helped grow the transactions tax group from eight to more than 45 people in less than five years. Doloboff said his decision to leave Ernst & Young was partly motivated by stricter accounting rules that were making it difficult to navigate the regulatory landscape. “Law firms have much more freedom now, in terms of the types of work we can do for clients without being subject to restrictions,” Doloboff said. “From my standpoint as a lawyer, I thought this would be a good time to get back into a law firm environment.” Doloboff’s 20 years of experience with a major accounting firm, law firms and the government will be useful to Sheppard, Mullin, says Guy Halgren, the firm’s managing partner. Doloboff is a 1985 graduate of Harvard Law School. � Kellie Schmitt

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