X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A former paralegal at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stealing the firm’s plan for an upcoming tobacco liability trial and trying to sell it to the tobacco companies. Said Farraj pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen goods before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Farraj’s brother, Yeazid, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy. In June, Yeazid Farraj allegedly operated as the courier assigned to pick up the $2 million that Said Farraj demanded for the trial plan, but fell into the hands of an F.B.I. agent posing as a tobacco company representative. Orrick is one of several firms representing plaintiffs in the case of Falise v. American Tobacco Co., 99 CV 7392, before Senior Article III Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin today, with opening arguments expected one week later. Said Farraj, 27, purloined the 400-plus page trial plan during a one-month paralegal stint at Orrick this summer. Authorities say he was able to access the firm’s computer system and download an electronic copy of the plan, which was the result of hundreds of billable hours of work by Orrick attorneys. The material included trial strategy, deposition excerpts and summaries, and references to anticipated trial exhibits. Prosecutors say that once Farraj had downloaded the trial plan, he contacted attorneys for several of the defendants by e-mail under the name of “FlyGuyNYt,” and offered to sell the plan. As an appetizer, Farraj included an 80-page excerpt from the plan. An attorney for the tobacco companies alerted the F.B.I. The Bureau then set in motion a sting operation in which one of its agents, Trenton J. Schmatz, posed as a tobacco company representative and contacted Farraj by e-mail in June and July. Farraj, who at that point had left Orrick and was working as a summer intern for the New York State Attorney General, agreed to sell the agent the entire trial plan for $2 million. His initial demand was $3 million, which he mistakenly figured represented 1 percent of the plaintiff’s $3 billion settlement demand in the litigation. Special Agent Schmatz said the scheme came to a head when he arranged for a second undercover agent to meet Farraj’s courier at a McDonald’s restaurant on July 21. Yeazid Farraj, 24, was allegedly sent to the restaurant by his brother to pick up the $2 million payment and set the exchange of the trial plan. An undercover agent, wearing a recording device and carrying $200,000 in a duffel bag, met with Yeazid Farraj, who told the agent that a “friend” on Staten Island stood ready to e-mail the trial plan within one minute after the money was exchanged. But when officers arrested Yeazid Farraj, they say that he immediately admitted that the “friend” was his brother Said, and that Said had copied the trial plan from the Orrick computer. Said Farraj faces as much as 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if convicted. Yeazid Farraj faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of the same amount. The brothers remain free on $50,000 personal recognizance bonds. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Tuesday. Lawrence Ruggiero represented Said Farraj. John P. Curley of the Legal Aid Society represented Yeazid Farraj. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Strang represented the government.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.