Avi Weitzman is a partner in Gibson Dunn’s New York office. He is a nationally recognized trial and appellate attorney, with expertise handling complex commercial disputes in diverse areas of law, white-collar and regulatory enforcement defense, internal investigations, and complex transnational litigations. 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.
In the last few years at Gibson Dunn, Mr. Weitzman has had leading roles in several of the Firm’s most high-profile matters, including representing Chevron Corporation in a ground-breaking two-month federal RICO trial barring the enforcement of a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron that The American Lawyer called “The Case of the Century”; representing the Office of the Governor of New Jersey in connection with allegations concerning the George Washington Bridge toll lane closings at Ft. Lee and Sandy aid for Hoboken; and 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.
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 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 Galleon Group investigation, which resulted in the conviction of Raj Rajaratnam, one the largest insider trading cases in history, and successfully prosecuting many other cases arising out of the government’s investigation dubbed “Operation Perfect Hedge,” which resulted in the conviction of over 60 individuals for insider trading offenses. Mr. Weitzman was lead counsel in the first insider trading trial arising out of the government’s investigation of expert networking firms (United States v. Winifred Jiau), and led the Government’s investigation of SAC Capital and portfolio manager Mat Martoma, which resulted in the largest single-trade insider trading scheme ever charged.
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 received national recognition and awards for his achievements and litigation skills. In 2012, Mr. Weitzman received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award from Attorney General Eric Holder for his work on the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading case. He has been named a “Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal and by Law360 in the White Collar category. In addition, Mr. Weitzman is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading lawyer in the area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar.
Representative Experience in Complex Commercial and Civil Disputes
- Investment Adviser Fraud : Represent high net worth family in claims of fraud and breach of contract against investment advisor
- RICO : Represented Chevron Corporation in a two-month RICO trial arising out of an environmental case brought in Ecuador in 2003. The Ecuador litigation was marred by rampant fraud and bribery, and the resulting $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron was challenged successfully in the RICO Chevron brought in the Southern District of New York against the plaintiffs’ attorneys and others involved in fraudulently obtaining the Ecuadorian judgment.
- RICO : Represented New York’s largest liquor distributor in its RICO lawsuit against a Maryland liquor distributor arising out of a bootlegging scheme.
- Employment Retaliation: Lead counsel representing UBS in whistleblower lawsuit alleging violations of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Americans with Disabilities Acts; reached favorable settlement on trial eve.
- Defamation : Represented hedge fund owner Louis Bacon in federal and state lawsuits arising out of “smear campaign” targeting client. Among other lawsuits, successfully pursued discovery in the United States through 28 U.S.C. § 1782 from a videographer; successfully moved to dismiss retaliatory California state lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute; and successfully moved to dismiss all retaliatory counterclaims filed by against Mr. Bacon in a New York state court.
- Regulatory Challenge : Represented waste disposal company in its high-profile lawsuit against regulatory agency that improperly suspended company’s license.
- Breach of Contract-Media : Represented plaintiff (owned by Cablevision and AMC Networks) in breach of contract trial against DISH Network that resulted in a favorable mid-trial settlement valued at over $1 billion
- Breach of Contract-Technology : Successfully defended Square and its two co-founders, Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, in connection with patent infringement, trade secret, fraud, and joint venture claims brought by an individual alleging a breach of an alleged oral joint venture agreement to form the innovative company, Square, Inc.
- Breach of Contract : Represented Chobani founder in $1 billion lawsuit brought by his ex-wife seeking ownership of the company.
- Lanham Act : Member of the trial team that obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of Schick Manufacturing, following a one-week evidentiary hearing, in its false advertising and Lanham Act claims against The Gillette Company over the advertising of Gillette’s M3 Power Razor.*
- International Arbitration : Member of team representing lead claimant First Eagle SoGen Funds in an international arbitration against the Bank for International Settlements, in which an arbitral panel in the Hague awarded private shareholders approximately $500 million in damages for inadequate squeeze-out of shareholders.*
- Trade Dress : Represented Chrysler in connection with week-long preliminary injunction hearing in Indiana federal district court against General Motors over the trade dress of the H2 Hummer grille.*
Representative Experience in White Collar and Regulatory Matters
- Securities Fraud-SEC : Represent Rio Tinto in SEC enforcement action charging it with securities fraud in connection with a $3.5 billion impairment of coal assets in Mozambique.
- False Claims Act : Represent large biotech company in investigation by U.S. Attorney’s Office for alleged violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute.
- False Claims Act : Successfully represented the President of a health care company investigated in connection with a Qui Tam lawsuit alleging violations of the state and federal False Claims Act; representation resulted in the Government not intervening to assert any claims against client.
- Securities Fraud-DOJ : Lead trial counsel in two-month criminal trial representing former CEO of KIT Digital charged by DOJ with market manipulation and accounting fraud.
- Insider Trading : Represented investment banker in insider trading investigation by the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC, resulting in sentence of probation.
- FCPA : Represented former CEO of large pharmaceutical company in an investigation by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission into alleged bribes throughout the world in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Public Corruption : Represent large software provider in investigation by county prosecutors into alleged public corruption.
- Public Corruption : Obtained non-prosecution agreement for CEO of a publicly traded environmental company in connection with public corruption and securities fraud investigations; favorably resolved parallel SEC enforcement action.
- Public Corruption : Represented the Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey in a high-profile internal investigation related to the allegations concerning the George Washington Bridge toll lane realignment in September 2013 and the allegations raised by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer concerning Superstorm Sandy aid allocations, which, after a two month investigation, resulted in a comprehensive and exhaustive 340-page internal investigation report.
- Public Corruption : Represented the Select Committee in its impeachment investigation of former Governor John Rowland, which resulted in a historic Connecticut Supreme Court ruling and subsequent resignation of Governor Rowland.*
- Gambling : Represented DraftKings in criminal and regulatory investigations, as well as civil enforcement actions brought by Attorneys General in New York and other states to enjoin ongoing operations.
- Gambling : Represented Molly Bloom, whom newspapers called the “Poker Princess,” in a RICO action in the Southern District of New York involving allegations of illegal poker games. Case was made into movie “Molly’s Game,” starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.
- Gambling/Forfeiture : Successfully represented founder of online poker company in forfeiture proceedings with the Department of Justice.
- Payola: Represented a major music label in a Payola investigation by the New York State Attorney General.*
- Securities Fraud : Represented a large international law firm in an independent investigation by the SEC surrounding the law firm’s advice to a publicly-traded company regarding its duty to file an annual report with the SEC.*
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, conducting internal investigations, and litigating complex commercial and intellectual property disputes.
Mr. Weitzman is fluent in Hebrew.
- Co-Author, “LIU V. SEC: Supreme Court Cabins SEC Disgorgement Remedy,” Wall Street Lawyer (July 2020).
- Co-Author, “Recent Constitutional Litigation Challenging Governmental Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Westlaw (July 1, 2020).
- Co-Author, “What To Know About Short-Seller Risks During Pandemic,” Law360 (June 3, 2020).
- Co-Author, “Curing Albany’s Corruption Epidemic: It’s Time for a Conflict-Free Legislature,” New York Law Journal (May 27, 2016).
- Co-Author, “Second Circuit Injects New Life Into Dirks Personal Benefit Test in United States v. Newman,” Insights (January 2015).
- Co-Author, “The Statute of Limitations Governing SEC Actions Against Foreign Defendants,” Business Crimes Bulletin (July 2013).
*Representation occurred prior to Mr. Weitzman’s association with Gibson Dunn.