Ross Mandell: was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty (Southern District of New York) in May 2012. After a three-week trial, Mandell was found guilty on fraud charges.
Mandell’s firm, Sky Capital, was found to have defrauded investors, the majority of whom were from the United Kingdom, out of millions of dollars by a jury.
After exhausted his challenges in the 2nd Circuit and being denied by the Supreme Court, he was sentenced to jail in September 2014.
Ross Mandell is currently incarcerated in a federal prison camp
He is currently incarcerated in a federal prison camp in Miami and is scheduled to be released on November 29, 2023.
Mandell sued the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Southern District of Florida in October 2018.
Alleging that they were suppressing material that might allow him to reverse his conviction.
The failure of these government institutions to produce records in response to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests is the subject of Mandell’s lawsuit.
Prosecutors are battling hard to prevent Mandell from reviewing these previously unreleased documents, which begs the question, WHY?
Mandell requested data relating to Steven Altman, a Sky Capital attorney, from the government (FBI, SEC, and DOJ). Altman wa
Mandell’s first lawyer, Jeffrey Hoffman. According to Mandell, Hoffman supported Altman in securing immunity by striking a secret bargain with prosecutors.
Mandell even filed a 2255 against Hoffman, claiming that his defence was insufficient. Mandell lost the motion, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to find a way out of prison and uncovering the truth.
Someone must have spoken to Altman during the investigation if he was a government witness.
Mandell has been requesting information from the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office on any notes they have from any meetings with Altman for over three years.
According to Mandell, he has knowledge that various files on Altman have not been made over as a result of his FOIA request.
This latest action was prompted by advice from an investigator with the New York State Bar Association’s Disciplinary Committee, who was also investigating Mandell’s claims. Hoffman has since been approved by the New York State Bar Association.
Mark G. Astor, a government transparency and media lawyer who has helped journalists and others obtain court records, dismiss subpoenas for sources, defend against defamation claims, and challenge unlawful gag orders, is representing Mandell.
If, as Mandell reports, Hoffman accompanied Altman to talks with the government, we have a scenario where one lawyer is representing two people in the same criminal case… not only unethical, but unlawful.
This motion was filed in the Southern District of Florida, where Mandell is currently imprisoned. On November 21, Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes held a hearing. Judge Darrin P. Gayles of the United States District Court will make the final ruling.
“There is no doubt that Altman was Plaintiff’s counsel,” Mandell’s second attorney, Matthew Topic, a government transparency expert, contended, “but the Government intended to utilise Altman as a trial witness against Plaintiff.”
This raises serious concerns about the DOJ’s regard for the attorney-client relationship in the pursuit of a prosecution that trumps any privacy concerns….
But the real question is how do they deal with a situation where one of the witnesses, or potential witnesses, or even just one of the performers, is a lawyer for the Defendant? That is why it becomes a fundamental law enforcement policy issue rather than a single isolated incident.”
The government should hand out Altman’s information. Mandell fought for his innocence all the way to the end of the trial.
What is there to hide if there was no side deal done, which I don’t believe there was?
The government claims that Altman has a right to privacy, to which Topic responds, “Even if there was a private interest, it would have to outweigh the public interest in disclosure.”
The extent to which prosecutors attempt or succeed in leveraging criminal defendants’ former counsel to aid a prosecution raises critical public policy considerations about attorney-client privilege and how the Department of Justice implements substantive law enforcement policies.
That’s exactly the kind of public interest that FOIA case law recognises.”
The decision to share the material on Altman may or may not lead to Mandell’s release. However, it is possible that disclosing the knowledge is in everyone’s best interests.