Lawyer Daugerdas Seeks New Trial Based on Juror Misconduct

Paul Daugerdas, a former lawyer at the defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, and three other defendants convicted of a 10-year tax shelter scheme asked a judge for a new trial, claiming a juror lied about her background to get on the panel.

In papers filed in Manhattan federal court, lawyers for the convicted defendants claimed that Catherine Conrad, Juror No. 1 in the trial, hid details of her background from the court, including a law degree, at least four arrests and the fact that she’s serving a sentence of probation for shoplifting.

The request for a new trial was dated July 8. U.S. District Judge William Pauley today ordered the request made public.

In May, the jury including Conrad convicted Daugerdas on more than 20 criminal counts, including conspiracy, tax evasion and attempting to impede the Internal Revenue Service. The jurors found three of Daugerdas’s co-defendants guilty of tax evasion and other charges and acquitted a fourth.

There was no answer at an office phone listing for Catherine Conrad, a suspended Bronx, New York, attorney identified by the defendants as Juror No. 1. A voice message wasn’t immediately returned. It could not be independently confirmed whether the suspended attorney is the same person as Juror No. 1.

Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, declined to comment on the matter.

Letter to Prosecutors

In court papers unsealed today, defense investigators said they first looked into Conrad’s background after she sent a May 25 letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stanley Okula praising the prosecution team and discussing the jury’s deliberations.

In the letter, Conrad described herself as “the nerdy person with the ‘Susan Brune’ glasses, I was always head down taking notes!” Susan Brune is a lawyer who represented convicted defendant David Parse, an accountant who formerly worked as a client adviser at Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) unit Alex. Brown, in the case.

In the letter, Conrad said she “held out for two days” to convict Parse of a conspiracy charge, then “had to throw in the towel.”

The defendants claim Conrad wouldn’t have been permitted to serve on the jury if she’d told the truth about her background. Her presence on the panel deprived them of a fair trial, they said.

Seven Indicted

Daugerdas, the former head of Jenkins & Gilchrist’s Chicago office, was indicted with six other people in June 2009 on charges of conspiracy and tax evasion for selling phony tax shelters from 1994 to 2004. Two of those charged, former BDO Seidman LLP partner Robert Greisman and former Jenkens & Gilchrist attorney Erwin Mayer, pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government.

Jurors convicted Daugerdas on more than 20 criminal counts, including conspiracy, multiple counts of tax evasion and attempting to impede the IRS, at the end of a 10-week trial.

The jury also returned guilty verdicts for Denis Field, the former chief executive officer at accounting firm BDO Seidman LLP, Donna Guerin, a Jenkens & Gilchrist lawyer; and Parse. A second former Alex. Brown accountant, Robert Craig Brubaker, was found not guilty.

Daugerdas could be sentenced to as long as 20 years in prison.

The case is U.S. v. Daugerdas, 09-CR-581, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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