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Avi Weitzman is a partner in Gibson Dunn’s New York office. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer focusing on high-profile white-collar and regulatory enforcement defense and complex commercial disputes in diverse areas of law. Mr. Weitzman is a member of Gibson Dunn’s Litigation, White Collar Defense and Investigations, Crisis Management, Securities Enforcement, Transnational Litigation, Intellectual Property, and Media, Entertainment and Technology Practice Groups. Throughout his tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York and at Gibson Dunn, Mr. Weitzman has successfully served as lead trial counsel in high-profile white collar and civil trials. Mr. Weitzman is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading lawyer in the area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar and by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star” in New York. In 2013, Mr. Weitzman was also named by Law360 as one of just five nationwide “Rising Stars” in White Collar Criminal Defense under the age of 40 “whose legal accomplishments belie their age”; the following year, he was similarly named by the New York Law Journal as a “Rising Star” in the White Collar category.
Mr. Weitzman is an experienced and sought-after trial lawyer, known as a “quick-witted litigator” who relishes handling complex litigation and trials, and has been singled out for his “first-rate legal skills,” “keen judgment,” and “dedication” to his clients. Mr. Weitzman was lead trial counsel in the six-year defense of Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, a former CEO of a public company charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (SDNY) and SEC with accounting fraud and market manipulation. After his two-month trial, the government sought a 20+ year prison sentence for alleged losses exceeding $50 million. With a tenacious defense, which the Court described as a “scorched earth strategy [that] . . . truly left no stone unturned,” Mr. Weitzman persuaded the Court to impose a sentence of no time in prison, a request the legal press described as “bold” and “audacious,” and an achievement heralded as a “coup” when Gibson Dunn was awarded White Collar Group of the Year by Law360. Most recently, Mr. Weitzman obtained the rare pretrial dismissal of a federal criminal indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (SDNY) against his client, the founder of a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company charged with insider trading for allegedly tipping friends and family in advance of a $3.5 billion tender offer. With these two most recent achievements, Mr. Weitzman has continued his unblemished record of successfully avoiding any sentence of imprisonment for any of his criminal defense clients.
In addition, Mr. Weitzman has played leading roles in many of the Firm’s highest-profile trials and matters, including representing Chevron Corporation in a two-month federal RICO trial barring the enforcement of a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment that The American Lawyer called “The Case of the Century”; representing the Office of the Governor of New Jersey in an independent investigation of the “Bridgegate” matter; representing VOOM HD Holdings in its multi-billion dollar trial against DISH Network, which resulted in a mid-trial settlement valued at well over $1 billion. Mr. Weitzman is currently serving as trial counsel in multiple other high-profile matters, including a contested enforcement action filed by the SEC against a public mining company over a $3.5 billion impairment.
Before joining Gibson Dunn, from 2005 to 2012, Mr. Weitzman served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he tried twelve federal criminal jury trials to verdict. As a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Mr. Weitzman investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal securities fraud offenses, and coordinated parallel civil proceedings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Weitzman was a member of the team that led the government’s investigation dubbed “Operation Perfect Hedge,” which resulted in the conviction of over 60 individuals for insider trading offenses. He played a leading role in many of the government’s highest-profile insider trading cases, including having successfully defended the government’s use of wiretaps in the Raj Rajaratnam case, serving as lead counsel in the first “expert network” insider trading trial (United States v. Winifred Jiau), and having led the Government’s investigation of SAC Capital portfolio manager Mat Martoma, which resulted in the largest single-trade insider trading scheme ever charged. For his work on the Rajaratnam case, Mr. Weitzman received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012.
Mr. Weitzman also gained significant experience as a federal prosecutor in international investigations and prosecutions as a member of the Organized Crime Unit, leading numerous large, complex racketeering investigations and prosecutions involving international organized crime, as well as Italian, Albanian and Asian criminal enterprises in the United States. Mr. Weitzman’s international investigations resulted in the largest-ever extradition from Israel of more than 20 defendants for their involvement in international telemarketing fraud, as well as the extradition and conviction of the Chief Aide to the Albanian Deputy Prime Minister for murder, kidnapping and racketeering offenses in the United States.
Mr. Weitzman has an active pro bono practice. Among other things, Mr. Weitzman serves as lead counsel on behalf of the Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other victims of “ghost gun” violence in California v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives—a lawsuit that challenges the federal government’s failure to regulate untraceable “ghost guns” and resulted in rule-making that, if adopted, would render such ghost guns unlawful. Mr. Weitzman has also filed Supreme Court amicus briefs in two recent Second Amendment cases, including representing 139 Democratic members of the House of Representatives in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, and members of the business community in N.Y. State Rifle Association v. Bruen. These amicus briefs challenge Petitioner’s efforts in these cases to expand the Second Amendment to include a purported right to carry firearms outside the home and to require more lax concealed carry laws. For Mr. Weitzman’s and Gibson Dunn’s pro bono work in this area, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence awarded Gibson Dunn the Richard D. Odgers Pro Bono Partner Award in 2021.
Representative Experience in White Collar and Regulatory Matters
Representative Experience in Complex Commercial and Civil Disputes
Mr. Weitzman received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1999, where he was a Senior Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and a member of the Board of Student Advisors. He also received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 1996. Mr. Weitzman received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1999 to research free speech law in Israel. Following law school, Mr. Weitzman served as a law clerk for Justice Dalia Dorner of the Israeli Supreme Court, and then for Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Weitzman practiced for more than four years as a litigator at two international law firms in New York, where he specialized in white collar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation.
Mr. Weitzman is fluent in Hebrew.
*Representation occurred prior to Mr. Weitzman’s association with Gibson Dunn.
Harvard University - 1999 Juris Doctor
University of Kentucky - 1996 Bachelor of Arts
New York Bar