AOL will begin paying the legal fees for two former executives charged with corporate fraud in federal court in Alexandria, Va., according to two sources with knowledge of the case.

The move came just days before a landmark ruling last month by Judge Lewis Kaplan in a separate case involving New York accounting firm KPMG. Kaplan’s decision found that the Justice Department’s much-criticized practice of forcing companies to cut off legal fees to former executives under investigation, outlined in the 2003 “Thompson memo,” violated the executives’ constitutional rights.

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