DOJ seek to exclude Nehra’s Zeek settlement from Merrill trial
A year ago the Zeek Rewards Receiver sued disgraced Ponzi lawyer Gerry Nehra for $100 million.
Two months later Nehra settled with the Receiver for $100,000 and acknowledged Zeek Rewards was a Ponzi scheme.
In their case against TelexFree co-owner James Merrill, the DOJ have called Nehra up as a government witness.
In a motion filed late last week, the DOJ claim Nehra’s Zeek settlement is “not relevant to Nehra’s credibility”.
The regulator is requesting an order preventing Merrill from bringing up Nehra’s settlement at trial.
The DOJ argues that Nehra’s Zeek settlement ‘entirely unrelated to TelexFree and the charged defendants in‘ the case against Merrill.
The settlement does not constitute proper impeachment, and if admitted, would amount to confusing and timely side-show.
Among other reasons, the DOJ claim
while Nehra’s firm represented Zeek, it was Nerha’s partner Waak who primarily represented Zeek, not Nehra. Waak was called as witness, not Nehra.
For this Nehra’s connection to Zeek was more tangential and, for that reason, is less relevant.
If the DOJ’s motion is granted Merrill will still be able to reference Nehra’s involvement in Zeek Rewards, just not the settlement.
To what extent Nehra is vital to the DOJ’s case against Merrill I can’t say, but personally I think he’s a terrible choice for a witness.
Nehra went in to bat for the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme. And while you’d think one major Ponzi bust would have been enough to bring Nehra to his senses, you’d be wrong.
In my opinion it’d be hard to take any testimony the disgraced Ponzi lawyer presented in court, without consideration of a self-serving motive.
Purely from the perspective of discrediting Nehra, I think Merrill should be entitled to call his legal reputation into question.
Nehra’s settlement with the Zeek Receiver is very much a part of that, as it demonstrates continued negligence when it comes to identifying illegal Ponzi schemes.
The question is how would Merrill discredit Nehra without admitting TelexFree is a Ponzi scheme?
The only way I can see it being done is to attempt to shift blame for TelexFree onto Nehra. Acknowledge TelexFree is a Ponzi scheme but claim it’s not your fault because your lawyer gave you terrible legal advice.
Although not explicitly mentioned in their motion, I believe this is actually what the DOJ are actually seeking to quash.
Whether the Judge grants the motion remains to be seen.
Footnote: Our thanks to Don@ASDUpdates for providing a copy of the DOJ’s “Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of a Civil Settlement Agreement” (filed October 13th).