Hundreds of pages of documents filed in connection with a contempt investigation involving former Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker partner Richard Lerner and Long Island Attorney Frederick Oberlander indicate that sealed information they are apparently suspected of leaking has been in the public domain for a decade. Lerner and Oberlander recently uploaded 745-pages of documents suggesting that the identity of racketeer Felix Sater was common knowledge long before they were involved in the case. Lerner and Oberlander are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney for criminal contempt and Sater is seeking civil contempt damages.
Records of Sater’s 1998 conviction for a $40 million stock fraud were sealed as part of a cooperation agreement. Oberlander, represented by Lerner, attached documents related to the Sater prosecution to a civil action alleging that the sealed record enabled Sater to pull off a subsequent scam. But voluminous records filed with the court show that Sater had repeatedly been identified in public documents going back at least 10 years. Oberlander, and Lerner, who recently left Wilson Elser after a dispute over whether the firm should represent Oberlander, claim the records demonstrate that the contempt allegations “are predicated upon falsehoods” and request sanctions against Sater’s attorneys and the U.S. Attorney. Recent docket entries show that Wilson Elser has moved to be dismissed as a party to the contempt case.