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Legal Daily News Feature

Heads Rolling? More on What Not to Do during a Trial


By Stony Olsen

When the judge adjudicating your case states flatly that “heads will have to roll, because this is outrageous,” you’d
better hope that said head is not your own.

09/22/08 Predictably, this has led to an utter mess, bringing the


entire reason for the prosecution into question. The jury
That’s what attorneys got to go home, and the development has raised all sorts
representing McAfee are hoping of attorney-client privilege questions. McAfee claims
right about now. This will likely that all the relevant documents were turned over to the
show up in some ethics casebook “special litigation group,” a group they set up to manage
soon, assuming more fireworks the extensive options scandal they are involved with. So
occur. When vital discovery who the question of who to blame for the oversight is quite
doesn’t show up until ten hours murky, though oddly the two parties at issue in the case
before the trial starts, things are seem to be off the hook. When was the last time both
rotten somewhere. named parties to a case in a discovery dispute weren’t at
fault?
That’s what happened in this case. The government is
prosecuting Kent Roberts, a former McAfee general counsel For fans of legal soap operas, this case appears to have it
for alleged stock option backdating shenanigans. But there all: zealous prosecutors, defendants pointing the fingers at
are three parties involved here: the Feds, Roberts, and each other, fee disputes, discovery surprises, mad judges,
McAfee itself. and generally all sorts of popcorn. Earlier this year, McAfee
sued its counsel WilmerHale in another case because of
Two years ago, a grand jury issued a subpoena to McAfee. the high legal fees Wilmer charged. Meanwhile, Roberts
Then the prosecutor, Laurel Beeler, over the weekend before is trying to stick McAfee with his legal defense bill in yet
trial, asked McAfee for travel records for the company’s another fee dispute.
former controller. Based on the email the prosecution
received, Beeler then broadened their request. That led to The case promises to provide a lot more entertainment to
another 18 pages of emails, much more than anticipated, court watchers.
which showed that the former controller was involved in
changing the date on an options grant. Of course, these
emails should have been turned over after the subpoena
was issued two years ago.

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