On Thursday a federal court jury in Gulfport acquitted Texas lawyer Mikal Watts and two other employees of his law firm on fraud charges related to BP oil spill claims. The jury convicted two defendants who made up fictitious claimants and turned the information over to Watts’ firm.
Here is the Anita Lee’s Sun Herald’s article on the verdict.
Here is Guillermo Contreras’s article in the San Antonio Express. In this article Watts blasts overzealous federal prosecutors. The article also addresses Watts’ gamble in representing himself at trial:
Professor Geary Reamey, who teaches criminal law at St. Mary’s University School of Law, and John Convery, a former federal prosecutor who is now president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, said the result was very unusual for a defendant who serves as his or her own lawyer.
“It’s extremely rare for a person representing himself to win against the federal government, or the state government, for that matter,” Reamey said.
Convery said he was stunned by the result, calling it “astonishing” and saying, “Apparently the jury had a lot more respect for someone who does represent himself. No one has more on the line. Apparently, that sincerity shone through.”
I’m in the crowd that thought Watts lost his marbles when he decided to represent himself. I was wrong.
It now looks like the feds were overreaching along the same lines of the misguided Justice Oliver Diaz prosecution.
Watts has more than repaired his reputation in winning. He has built on it. He made two huge gambles in going to trial and representing himself. He won them both at the end of a five week trial. This should move him to the head of the table in the mass tort world of plaintiff lawyers where the principal asset of many of the leading players is superior bragging skills.
This win proves that Mikal Watts is for real as a trial lawyer.