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Playing Offense & Defense at the Same Time


Credit Suisse, insider trading, Rudy Giuliani and an absolutely, positively amazing fact about electronic ankle bracelets...


Hafiz Muhammad Zubair Naseem, the former Credit Suisse (CS) banker charged with heading a $7.5 million insider trading ring, will be released on $1 million bail today.

Judge James C. Francis IV said that he did not think Naseem, a Pakistani national, was a flight risk based on the bail conditions his attorney proposed.

Those conditions?

The bail being co-signed by four "financially responsible individuals," home detention, and electronic monitoring.

His attorney?

Marc Mukasey, son of Michael Mukasey, former Chief Judge of the Southern District, who was an assistant with Rudy Giuliani in the 1970s in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Marc Mukasey

Marc Mukasey's firm?

Bracewell & Giuliani.

The very bedrock U.S. society is built upon guarantees the individual to the assumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to legal counsel, and a fair and expeditious trial.

I only point out the connection to Giuliani because he is currently campaigning for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Rudy Giuliani

Here's an excerpt from Giuliani's campaign website,

The Crime Fighter

After the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981, Rudy was named Associate Attorney General, the third highest position in the Department of Justice. He supervised all of the US attorney offices' law enforcement agencies. In 1983, Rudy became United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he spearheaded successful efforts against organized crime, white collar criminals (note: emphasis mine), drug dealers and corrupt elected officials.

A former prosecutor now a partner in a firm defending clients of the type against whom he used to bring cases is nothing new. Former IRS enforcement agents routinely make second careers out of helping people in trouble with the taxman. Ex-District Attorneys become defense lawyers. Jeez, even Michael Oxley, co-author of Sarbanes-Oxley has joined a Washington, D.C. law firm to help corporations skirt Sarbanes-Oxley.

What makes this different, in my mind, is that Rudy's got his eye on the White House with a staunch tough-on-crime platform.

I like Giuliani. As a New Yorker, I voted for him twice in the mayoral elections.

That said, let me make something as clear as possible: this isn't anything more than a raised eyebrow from someone who made his living writing commercials for the better part of fifteen years and knows how sensitive companies and individuals are regarding even the slightest shift in public opinion. I hasten to say that Naseem is entitled to the best legal representation money can buy and Bracewell & Giuliani is entitled to represent any client it sees fit.

What if Naseem does jump bail? Would it reflect poorly on Giuliani's reputation as a crimefighter? That's tough to gauge, especially because it's speculation on something that isn't, and may never be, an issue. But, in politics, where image is king, it's certainly something to think about.

(For more on insider trading and how members of Congress -- and their staff members -- are exempt from insider trading laws, CLICK HERE)

What's easier to gauge is the number of people able to remain out of law enforcement's grasp.

At a press conference in Washington this past November, U.S. Marshals Service Director John Clark estimated that there are about 1,000,000 fugitives documented in the National Crime Information Center (a computerized database maintained by the FBI), and many more not in the system.

John Clark

Clark estimates that about 1,000 fugitives nationally are apprehended weekly.

So, about 52,000 fugitives out of 1,000,000 are apprehended yearly.

That's 1.2%.

If Naseem disappears, there's a 98.8% chance he ain't coming back.

Which isn't terribly surprising, as Clark said, "We have several hundred [people] nationally that would work on any given day on apprehending fugitives. And that includes not just the Marshals Service, but our other state and local and federal partners that work on our fugitive task forces."

"Several hundred people". Being extremely generous and estimating that number to be, say, 500, there are 0.5% as many fugitive-catchers as there are fugitives.

Will the electronic monitoring bracelet keep Naseem in the States until his trial?

His lawyers say yes. The prosecution says no. I say, we'll see.

An electronic monitoring bracelet

And now, the amazing fact I promised:

In 1995, Jody Klein-Saffran put together a study of federal offenders for the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of early release methods on federal inmates, those methods being home confinement with electronic monitoring and the traditional release method via halfway house placement.

That specifically has nothing to do with the issue at hand. However, contained within the study was this:

"The development of the "electronic bracelet" was inspired by a Spiderman comic strip in 1977 read by Judge Jack Love, a New Mexico district court judge. Spiderman was being tracked by a transmitter worn on his wrist. The judge persuaded Michael Goss, a computer salesman, to develop a similar device. In 1983, the first of these new electronic monitors was developed by Goss for monitoring five offenders in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) evaluated the effort and concluded that the equipment operated successfully, and that it was legally tenable and cost-effective as an alternative to incarceration."

With that, enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.

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