Barry Jewell's Road to Indictment

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2008 12:00 am  

Since 1999, in five jury trials, the U.S Attorney's Office in Little Rock hasn't convicted a client of Perroni's.

Jewell's law firm split up in 2002. Between July 2002 and August 2004, Jewell said, there wasn't any indication that he was being investigated.

Moser appeared to be the one under the microscope. On Jan. 28, 2004, Moser was charged with several crimes in connection with stealing nearly $2 million of his clients' money.

As Moser's case was making its way through U.S. District Court in Little Rock, then-U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins called Perroni in August 2004 for a meeting.

Cummins said Perroni's name was on a list of retirement plans that Jewell had organized and the IRS intended to investigate the retirement plans. Cummins said Perroni would have a conflict of interest in representing Jewell.

Perroni talked it over with his law partner, Patrick James, and both thought no conflict existed, according to the recently unsealed documents.

"In their opinion, this was a pitiful attempt by the government to manufacture a conflict to prevent me from obtaining particularly able counsel," Jewell said, according to the documents. "Sam also advised me that, in his opinion, the United States Attorney's Office ... would do whatever they could to keep him from representing defendants accused of white collar criminal activity."

Perroni thought that if he represented Jewell, Jewell would become the target of the investigation just to justify the government's claims of a conflict. So Perroni agreed it was in Jewell's best interest if Perroni didn't take the case.

Cummins said Perroni did the right thing.

"We were glad to have the conversation privately, as we have no intention of unnecessarily placing issues before the public that might lead to inaccurate speculation in the local press," Cummins said in a letter to Perroni on Sept. 3, 2004.

Under a Cloud

In December 2004, the IRS told Jewell that he was the target of a grand jury investigation for tax fraud for his actions between 1997 and 2001. Later, in December 2004, Jewell said he learned that he would be indicted sometime in early 2005, according to the unsealed documents.



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