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A paralegal who allegedly stole and marketed a plaintiff’s trial plan for a major case against the tobacco companies is still awaiting an indictment in the two-month old case. Said Farraj, now a third-year law student at Quinnipiac College School of Law in Connecticut, is accused of stealing the 400-page plan during his month-long stay at the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe this past summer. Orrick is one of several major firms representing plaintiffs in Falise v. American Tobacco Co., 99 CV 7392, which is expected to go to trial shortly before Senior Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Farraj and his brother Yeazid were arrested in an F.B.I. sting operation July 21 that ended with an undercover officer meeting Yeazid Farraj in a McDonald’s restaurant at 160 Broadway in Manhattan to pay the first installment of the brothers’ $2 million asking price for the documents. After his month at Orrick, Said Farraj worked as a summer intern at the New York State Attorney General’s office in Manhattan, where he was at the time of his arrest. Scott Brown, spokesman for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, said yesterday that Farraj was immediately fired when the office learned of his arrest. On the day of their arrest, the brothers pleaded not guilty to charges of transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce. Both were released on bond by Southern District Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis. The complaint, based on the probable cause affidavit of F.B.I. Special Agent Trenton J. Schmatz, states that the trial plan contained, among other things, “plaintiffs’ trial strategy, deposition excerpts and summaries and references to anticipated court exhibits.” Michael Stolper, a senior litigation associate at Orrick, said that Farraj “came to the firm with good credentials,” and was assigned to help with the tobacco litigation. Farraj planned to work at Orrick for one month and then begin his internship at the Attorney General’s office. Said Farraj left Orrick on June 17. The following day, a Saturday, prosecutors allege that he sent e-mails under the name of “FlyGuy” to several lawyers representing defendants in the Falise litigation. One defense firm, which has not been identified, contacted Stolper on Monday, June 19. “That was my birthday present on June 19,” Stolper said. “I find out that someone stole my trial plan.” Stolper credited the unnamed defense firm for “acting appropriately and promptly” in notifying Orrick. “Tobacco company lawyers have had stuff stolen from them, so they know, maybe more than most, what to do,” he said. Stolper then contacted the office of Southern District U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, and F.B.I. agents were put on the case. After visiting with the defense firm, Special Agent Schmatz, posing as the lawyer who received the e-mail, responded to “FlyGuy,” triggering an exchange in which “Fly-Guy” initially demanded $3 million for the trial plan: a figure he said represented .1 percent of the $3 billion law suit settlement demand. “FlyGuy also stated that he believed the asking price was a reasonable amount since, in FlyGuy’s opinion, the defendants, the tobacco companies, might very well lose the jury verdict,” Schmatz said in his affidavit. In a series of subsequent e-mails, Schmatz negotiated “FlyGuy” down to an asking price of $2 million, an amount that “FlyGuy” stated was the minimum because he would have to share the proceeds with co-conspirators at Orrick. The meeting was set for McDonald’s on July 21, where an undercover officer was to meet a man named “Ron.” Carrying a down payment of $200,000 in a duffel bag and wearing a recording device, the undercover officer met “Ron” at McDonald’s, where they set the terms for the exchange. Ron, who the affidavit alleges turned out to be Yeazid Farraj, said defense lawyers in New Jersey would have the trial plan e-mailed to them from a Staten Island computer within one minute of receiving the down payment. He then informed the undercover officer that he and his “friend” in Staten Island planned to destroy the computer with a sledgehammer, purchased just for the occasion, after the exchange. After the undercover and other law enforcement officers arrested Yeazid Farraj, Farraj gave them a statement in which he allegedly said that his brother, Said, had copied the information while working at Orrick. Lawrence Ruggiero, attorney for Said Farraj, declined to comment on any aspect of the case when he was asked whether the two sides are engaged in plea negotiations. “We’re just basically awaiting the prosecutor’s next move,” Ruggiero said. “Ordinarily there is an indictment.” According to a spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the next court date is Oct. 21. John P. Curley of the Legal Aid Society, who represents Yeazid Farraj, could not be reached for comment.

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