- Guilty Plea Withdrawn
- All Charges Dismissed
San Diego – September 15, 2014 – Cooley LLP announced today that Canadian and Israeli businessman Nathan Jacobson has been cleared of all charges after a U.S. District Judge granted Jacobson's motion to withdraw his guilty plea and then dismissed all counts in the indictment against him.
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Jacobson, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, alleging his participation in a scheme to distribute invalid prescription pharmaceuticals via an online pharmacy. Jacobson's payment processing company had provided services to the online pharmacy, which the Justice Department alleged was operating illegally. Acting on his former counsel's advice, Jacobson pled guilty to a felony charge of money laundering. His sentencing was delayed for several years by agreement.
Now represented by Cooley, Jacobson filed a motion in U.S. District Court in 2013 seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. The motion stated that Jacobson was not only innocent of the charge to which he pled guilty, but also that he received ineffective assistance of counsel from his former attorney. "When we started working with Nathan, it became clear that he had repeatedly proclaimed his innocence before and after his guilty plea," said Michael Attanasio, lead counsel for Jacobson.
After the District Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on the motion, Jacobson's prior counsel testified over three days. Before cross-examination could be concluded, however, the Justice Department agreed not to oppose the motion to withdraw the guilty plea and to dismiss all charges in the original indictment. On September 15, 2014, Judge Janis Sammartino granted the motion to withdraw the guilty plea, finding "that there are fair and just reasons" to do so. Judge Sammartino also entered a judgment dismissing all charges against Jacobson.
"We are very pleased to have achieved this result that, after a long and courageous legal fight by Nathan, is a complete and total vindication on all criminal charges against him," added Attanasio. "We respect the Justice Department's decision to act in the interests of justice by not opposing Nathan's motion and agreeing to dismiss all charges."
The Cooley team representing Jacobson was led by Attanasio, partner and chair of the firm's Litigation department, and included associates Jon Cieslak and Shannon Sorrells. Jacobson was also represented by attorney Michael Gordner of Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.
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