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Another high-profile client hires Reid Weingarten

By Laurie Bennett

August 24, 2011 at 8:04am

Reid Weingarten may bring relief to his clients, but his name strikes fear in stockholders.

Word that Lloyd Blankfein had hired the prominent defense lawyer sent Goldman Sachs shares sliding this week.

Blankfein and other Goldman execs expect to be interviewed by federal authorities in connection with a Justice Department investigation into whether the company misled clients investing in mortgage-backed securities.

Blankfein has not been charged with any crime. But given the inevitability of the investigation, which follows a critical report from the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, shareholders should find some comfort in having Weingarten in their employ.

Weingarten won acquittals for former Tyco general counsel Mark A. Belnick, who had been charged with fraud and larceny, and for former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, accused of illegally taking gifts from lobbyists and businesses.

Not every client has fared as well.

Former WorldCom CEO Bernard J. Ebbers was convicted of conspiracy. Franklin Brown was sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence for accounting fraud at Rite Aid.

Weingarten is a partner in the white collar crime group at Steptoe & Johnson.

After years of representing high-profile corporate and government clients, he is not only comfortable in the spotlight, but knows how to give good quote.

Discussing his representation of corporate execs, he told BusinessWeek in 2002: “I feel like I’m in the French Revolution, defending the nobility against the howling mob They want to guillotine these people without any evidence.”

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