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December 2021


AGG’s Government Investigations Team Insights provides periodic updates covering legal and regulatory topics. Our team, which includes former federal prosecutors, SEC enforcement attorneys, and federal agency attorneys, has successfully represented companies and individuals, including executives of public companies, in numerous civil and criminal investigations, including before the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the SEC, the EPA, the FDA, the FTC, and many other federal and state agencies. We also assist our clients by conducting internal and parallel investigations, and advising them regarding the related issues that often follow government investigations, including civil litigation, media interest, and reputational concerns.

In this edition, we discuss recent criticism of the Justice Department’s use of “taint teams” to review potentially privileged materials seized during investigations, the government’s strong focus on both civil and criminal cybersecurity enforcement, and the FTC’s and CFPB’s increased scrutiny of big technology companies.



A Tainted Practice? Department of Justice Filter Teams Under Review
By: Aaron M. Danzig and Georgina C. Shepard 
When Michael Avenatti won a mistrial in his wire fraud trial in the Central District of California in August 2021, it was one of the tamer headlines about the infamous suspended lawyer. However, the lack of fanfare belies the significance of the legal issue that led U.S. District Judge James Selna to declare the mistrial. Judge Selna found that the government’s “taint team” had failed to hand over evidence in its possession after a seizure of data from Avenatti’s law offices. Although no willful misconduct was found, the failure to turn the reviewed evidence over materially hindered Avenatti’s ability to defend himself against the government’s charges. This case is one of a number of recent actions to consider the proper use of taint teams, representing a pushback on the government’s handling of privileged materials in investigations. Read More >
Looking Back to See What the Future Holds for Cybersecurity Enforcement
By: Sara M. Lord
The year 2021 will likely be seen as a defining moment in the history of cybersecurity enforcement. For the healthcare industry and government contractors, in particular, the government’s expanding focus on cybersecurity brings increased risks and penalties for noncompliance with stricter cyber standards and requirements. Read More >

The FTC and CFPB Target Big Tech, While the Chamber of Commerce Pushes Back

By: Theresa Y. Kananen 


The first full year of the Biden Administration has seen an overhaul of the leadership of executive agencies, coupled with an intense focus on how big business affects the United States economy. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in the new leadership and enforcement initiatives of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). After a lengthy confirmation process, former Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra, previously one of the staunchest consumer advocates at the Commission, took over as the new head of the CFPB in October 2021. Meanwhile, in June 2021, Linda Kahn, a former associate professor at Columbia University, legal fellow to Mr. Chopra and outspoken critic of big business, assumed the role of chair at the FTC. Through their respective organizations, Mr. Chopra and Ms. Kahn have increased scrutiny of big technology companies, sometimes even without allegations that the companies have engaged in any wrongdoing. Read More > 

    Aaron M. Danzig
        Sara M. Lord

The information presented provides a general summary and/or recent legal and regulatory developments. It is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.




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