In order to prevent a defendant from retaining a defense team of his choice, federal prosecutors will first freeze his assets, even though a jury has yet to find them to have been illegally obtained. They then bring prosecutions of almost unimaginable complexity, assuring that the financially hobbled defendant’s diminished legal team (or, as is often the case, his court-appointed lawyer) will be too overwhelmed to mount an adequate defense.When corporate executives are involved, the DoJ took an additional step: they forbid the corporation from helping with its employee's defense even though legally obligated to help:
When corporate executives are investigated and charged, the Department of Justice has been known to pressure their employer corporations to refuse to live up to contractual agreements to pay attorneys’ fees for indicted executives. This practice was immortalized in a series of Department of Justice directives, one of which, signed June 16, 1999, is known as the “Holder Memorandum” in honor of its drafter, the current attorney general, at that time the deputy attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division at the DOJ.The Supreme Court has since declared Holder's tactic unconstitutional. Court cases are pending on other DoJ tactics for depriving well-heeled clients of an effective defense. None of these cases, however, will help the less-than-wealthy targets charged with cases of "almost unimaginable complexity" by money-no-object Federal lawyers.