Law360, New York (October 16, 2015, 8:11 PM ET) — A former Bryan Cave LLP attorney who faces trial this month in New York federal court over an alleged scheme to acquire Maxim magazine has been accused of obtaining a $450,000 loan under the false pretense of organizing a boxing match featuring Floyd Mayweather.
The boxing legend’s name surfaced in an Oct. 12 court filing as prosecutors and former Bryan Cave transactional lawyer Harvey Newkirk sparred over whether allegations related to the match may be introduced at trial.
Newkirk was charged in April with helping his client Calvin Darden Jr. obtain more than $8 million in loans to acquire Maxim magazine, a deal that ultimately fell through. According to prosecutors, between August 2013 and February 2014, the men falsely claimed that assets owned by Darden’s father, Target Corp. board member and former United Parcel Service Inc. executive Calvin Darden Sr., would serve as collateral for the loans. The elder Darden has denied knowledge of the scheme and has not been accused of wrongdoing.
In an Oct. 5 letter made public on Oct. 12, prosecutors said they intended to introduce evidence at trial that Newkirk and Darden convinced a man named Joshua Mailman to loan them $450,000 in 2010 under the guise of financing a boxing match featuring Mayweather. According to prosecutors, Newkirk and Darden told Mailman that the loan would be secured by a promissory note from Darden’s father, who was actually unaware of the deal.
After the match fell through and the loan went into default, Newkirk and Darden offered to give Mailman an interest in revenue from other business deals, including the proposed Maxim acquisition, prosecutors wrote in the letter.
Prosecutors said evidence related to the boxing deal was admissible at trial because it demonstrated “the nature and background of the conspiracy and the nature of the relationship” between Newkirk and Darden, who was also charged and pled guilty to fraud.
A lawyer for Newkirk denied the allegations in an Oct. 12 court filing and said evidence related to the boxing match was irrelevant to the case.
“Having made the tactical choice not to charge Mr. Newkirk with this crime, the government seeks to slip this evidence in through the back door under a less demanding standard,” defense attorney Priya Chaudhry of Harris O’Brien St. Laurent & Chaudhry LLP wrote. “The law does not allow this kind of cheap shot.”
Chaudhry could not be reached for further comment Friday.
The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 26. Prosecutors have said they intend to call multiple lenders as witnesses, as well as former colleagues of Newkirk’s at Bryan Cave.
The dispute over evidence comes as Newkirk is pursuing a suit against the firm in New York state court demanding at least $2.5 million for his legal defense. And in the criminal case, Newkirk has accused Bryan Cave of leading him to believe that the firm was representing him in the probe and then disclosing privileged attorney-client communications to the government.
The government is represented by Andrew Adams and Sarah Paul.
Newkirk is represented by Priya Chaudhry of Harris O’Brien St. Laurent & Chaudhry LLP.
The case is U.S. v. Darden Jr. et al., case number 1:14-cr-00534, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
–Editing by Brian Baresch.