Paul A. Calli

Managing Partner

Paul Calli is a trial lawyer who handles complex commercial litigation and white collar matters. He regularly represents law firms, lawyers, judges, elected and appointed national, state and local government officials, corporations and corporate executives, news media organizations and journalists, physicians, professional athletes, sports agents, recording artists, and recording industry executives in sensitive civil and regulatory matters. He has tried over 150 cases to verdict in federal and state courts throughout the United States during the past 30 years, and has won a series of acquittals in high-profile trials since 2008, including eight trials where a jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty on all counts, or the court or the department of justice dismissed all counts during or immediately prior to trial.

From 2018 to 2022, Mr. Calli represented a prominent South Florida individual in connection with an investigation by the United States Department of Justice regarding an international conspiracy that used millions of dollars worth of foreign money for illegal lobbying and campaign contributions. Low Taek Jho, a Malaysian financier, was alleged to have given money to Pras Michel, a founding member of the music group “the Fugees,” and Michel was alleged to have given the money to a network of straw donors who used it to make campaign contributions to former President Barack Obama in 2012. In addition, Mr. Michel was also accused by prosecutors of trying to convince the Trump administration and the Justice Department to drop federal investigations into Mr. Low related to embezzlement, as well as assisting China in its efforts to have a Chinese dissident brought back to China, according to the Justice Department. Mr. Calli’s client was not charged in the matter.

From 2020 to 2022, Mr. Calli represented the general manager of several boutique resorts in a prominent South Florida tourism destination in connection with a large-scale federal investigation by the Department of Justice Tax Division, IRS Criminal Investigations, and the United States Department of Homeland Security, regarding tax crimes and the employment of illegal immigrants in hotels, bars, and restaurants, even though the employees were not authorized to work in the United States. The Department of Justice reported that the IRS was defrauded out of more than $10 million in employment taxes, collectively. No charges were filed against Mr. Calli’s client.

In November 2021, the FBI initiated dawn raids to execute search warrants at the homes of investigative journalists who had researched – but never published – a news story about claims that Ashley Biden had made about her father, now the sitting President of the United States. Mr. Calli served as lead counsel in defending the national news media organization and the journalist who founded it against the politically motivated First Amendment violations inflicted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, a highly aggressive and political prosecutors office which proudly styles itself as the “sovereign district” because instead of following legal precedent, it conceives of controversial “creative interpretations” of law. The matter dominated the news cycle throughout and was covered on the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and various television news media shows across the political spectrum. Mr. Calli and the Firm stopped this assault on the First Amendment in its tracks, obtaining a landmark First Amendment ruling from the Federal District Court halting the government’s review of the materials it seized from journalists’ homes and appointing a Special Master to safeguard the news media organization’s privileges and First Amendment rights. See In re Search Warrant Dated November 5, 2021, 2021 WL 5845146 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 8, 2021). Mr. Calli and the Firm also exposed a year-long campaign by President Biden’s Department of Justice to force the news media organization’s internet providers to produce hundreds of thousands of the organization’s documents, including attorney client privileged communications, and which gagged the service providers with secrecy orders preventing them from disclosing the subpoenas and productions to their media client. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York concealed these facts from the Court during the Special Master litigation, including the fact that it had forced internet providers to secretly produce documents ranging from months before the news organization had received a news tip about the Ashley Biden story. The Firm’s representation ended due to irreconcilable differences that arose with the news media organization’s founder, whose relationship with the news organization then terminated. As of at least December 1, 2023, neither of the Firm’s former clients had been charged with any crime, nor had the government obtained the release of any materials from the Special Master that Mr. Calli and his Firm had successfully protected and kept shielded from government review.

From 2020 through the present, Mr. Calli has represented an executive in connection with a federal public corruption investigation arising from the regulated utility sector in Ohio. The investigation spawned a series of federal prosecutions and civil lawsuits; media outlets described the matter as one of the largest corruption cases in the state’s history. Mr. Calli’s client was never charged nor a party to any civil litigation. Mr. Calli has now represented regulated utilities, or their senior executives, directors, or audit committee in multiple states and on multiple occasions.

In 2018, Mr. Calli and his Partner defended at trial a Senior Captain for a major commercial airline company, accused in Florida state court of gun crimes related to the protection of his property.  Five persons claimed the client discharged a firearm at them.  The jury acquitted Mr. Calli’s client after 34 minutes of deliberation.

From 2017 to 2021, Mr. Calli represented a prominent South Florida individual in connection with a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation by the United States Department of Justice Fraud Section and the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts, regarding allegations of bribing Republic of Haiti officials in exchange for business advantages. Two individuals were indicted and convicted at trial, however, due to prosecutorial misconduct by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and federal prosecutors, the convictions were reversed and the charges dismissed. Mr. Calli’s client was never indicted.

From 2013 to 2017, Paul Calli defended prominent South Florida lawyers against multiple unfounded Civil RICO lawsuits brought by their former client, the Miccosukee Indian Tribe in both federal and state courts, and won every case at or before summary judgment. Appellate courts affirmed each victory. The courts imposed multi-million dollar sanctions on the opposing party and their lawyers for their frivolous and bad faith campaign of litigation against Mr. Calli’s clients. Two of the three lawyers who opposed Mr. Calli were subsequently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court and precluded from practicing law, one permanently and one for ten years.

In 2012, The Miami Daily Business Review named Paul Calli the Most Successful Lawyer in Criminal Justice for South Florida.

In 2011, Mr. Calli defended at trial the founder and former CEO of a publicly traded company that manufactured military and law enforcement body armor, including outfitting the U.S. Marine Corps, in the largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution in history, DOJ’s landmark “Africa Sting” case. Mr. Calli’s client was the first person acquitted of 22 indicted persons, following a three-month trial in Washington, D.C. In 2011, Paul Calli represented the former General Director of Haiti Teleco in DOJ’s FCPA prosecution.

In 2010, Mr . Calli defended at trial an individual indicted in “Operation Short Change,” a three and one-half year prosecution that the DOJ touted as leading to at least 15 Federal Trade Commission cases, 44 law enforcement actions by DOJ, and actions by at least 13 states and the District of Columbia. Following a two-week trial, an evenly divided jury deadlocked, and DOJ dismissed all charges against Mr. Calli’s client.

In 2009, the National Law Journal selected Mr. Calli as one of 12 “Winning” trial attorneys in the United States.

In 2009, Mr. Calli and his partner defended an attorney who served as legal advisor, senior administration official and former campaign director for the then-sitting Governor of Puerto Rico. The client was indicted in two separate indictments alleging public corruption and tax fraud. After a seven-week trial in San Juan, the jury deliberated for only three hours before it acquitted the client of all criminal charges in both indictments.

In 2008, Mr. Calli defended at trial an individual employed by a Milan, Italy-based marine hose manufacturer accused in a Global antitrust bid rigging conspiracy that purportedly spanned more than a decade . Following a four-week trial, the jury deliberated for only one hour before it acquitted the client of all charges. In between these trials, Mr. Calli earned acquittals in State Court in two separate trials for individuals accused of violations of state laws.

In 2005, Mr. Calli represented two United States Air Marshals who fatally wounded a passenger who claimed to have a bomb aboard a flight, the only instance of a Federal Air Marshal discharging a firearm in the line of duty.

In addition to his trial work, Mr. Calli has conducted internal investigations for publicly traded companies or their Boards of Directors or audit or special review committees, in the insurance, regulated utilities, health care, and transportation industries, and for labor unions. He represents companies and executives in defense of allegations of fraud in matters involving Department of Defense contracts, health care, tax, environmental crimes, antitrust, securities and election law cases.

Representative Experience

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – Representation of the former General Director for Telecommunications at Haiti Teleco. Retained after the client was indicted by the United States Department of Justice.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Acquittal at trial – Representation of individual involved in the military and law enforcement body armor and products industry, indicted with 21 other persons as part of a massive government “sting” operation for purportedly agreeing to pay a bribe to the Minister of Defense of Gabon, Africa. After a 3 month jury trial in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, the presiding district judge granted our motion for a dismissal of charges and the client was acquitted of all allegations against him. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer called the prosecution the Justice Department’s “Flagship FCPA prosecution” and touted the case as “the first large-scale use of undercover law enforcement techniques in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation, and the largest action ever undertaken by the Justice Department against individuals in an FCPA matter.”

Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud – Dismissal of Federal Indictment With Prejudice: Defended at trial an individual indicted in “Operation Short Change,” a three and one-half year nationwide investigation and prosecution that the United States Department of Justice touted as leading to at least 15 Federal Trade Commission cases, 44 law enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, and actions by at least 13 states and the District of Columbia. Hired after the client was indicted, a mistrial was declared after an evenly divided federal jury failed to convict on any count following a two week trial. The Department of Justice moved to dismiss the indictment and all criminal charges were dismissed with prejudice.

Tax Evasion – Dismissal of Federal Indictment With Prejudice and closure of second Grand Jury investigation with no charges filed: Defended a business owner indicted for two counts of tax evasion and under investigation for separate alleged tax violations. Hired after the client was indicted and the second grand jury investigation opened, Mr. Calli challenged the government which resulted in the Court granting the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the indictment and dismissing the indictment with prejudice. No criminal or civil charges were levied regarding the second grand jury investigation.

Honest Services Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Tax Fraud, Campaign Finance violations, Public Corruption – Acquittal on two separate indictments: Defended an attorney who served as a legal advisor, senior administration official and former campaign director for the then-sitting Governor of Puerto Rico. The client was indicted by the United States Department of Justice in two separate indictments following a three year investigation. After a seven week federal trial, the jury deliberated for only three hours before it acquitted the client of all criminal charges in both indictments.

Internal Investigation – Retained as independent outside counsel by the parent company of Florida’s largest regulated utility, to conduct an independent internal investigation in response to the company’s receipt of anonymous letters containing anonymous allegations of financial irregularity.

Internal Investigation – Retained as independent outside counsel to represent the Special Review Committee of the board of directors of a publicly traded company in the insurance industry, and to conduct an independent internal investigation in response to a shareholder derivative demand letter. The company, one of the largest insurance brokerages in the country, was purportedly engaged in the payment of undisclosed contingent commissions for sales of insurance products.

Antitrust Acquittal – Defended at trial an individual employed by a Milan, Italy based marine hose manufacturer in 18 month investigation and prosecution by the United States Department of Justice. Following a four week federal trial, the jury deliberated for only one hour before it acquitted the client of any involvement or participation in a federal criminal conspiracy charge relating to alleged violations of The Sherman Act that occurred in the U.S. and throughout the world, from 1999 forward.

Public Corruption – Defended an individual involved in campaign and administration of indicted Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Witness Representation – Represented a former Major League Baseball player and record holder, eligible for Hall of Fame consideration, as a witness in connection with a federal criminal investigation and prosecution of his former business partner for federal criminal offenses.

State Felony Charges – Acquittal: Defended at trial an individual charged with felony criminal offenses punishable by a 15-year minimum mandatory sentence upon conviction. The jury acquitted the client of all criminal charges in less than one hour.

State Charges – Acquittal: Defended at trial a business owner charged with crimes of violence punishable by incarceration upon conviction. The jury acquitted the client of all criminal charges in 19 minutes, following a full day trial.

No Charges Filed – Defended two United Stated Federal Air Marshals who fatally wounded a passenger who claimed to have a bomb aboard a commercial airline flight at Miami International Airport (the only instance of a U.S. Federal Air Marshal Publications discharging a firearm in the line of duty).

Dismissal of charges – Defended two senior airline pilots employed by an airline owned and operated by a foreign sovereign. The clients were charged with offenses punishable by life in prison.

No Charges filed – Defended senior executive employed by national grocery chain, targeted by the Department of Justice in an environmental Lacey Act investigation and prosecution, alleging international importation of illegal seafood.

No Charges Filed – Represented a practicing attorney threatened with indictment in one of the nation’s largest drug conspiracy indictments. Representation included advocating directly with the United States Attorney for the District in which the attorney practiced, and to the highest level of the criminal division of the United States Department of Justice.

No Charges Filed – Defended physician falsely accused of sexual violence on a minor.

Appellate Victory – Prosecuted the extraordinary legal remedy of a Writ of Prohibition before Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, resulting in the removal of the presiding trial judge. Alan Siegel v. State of Florida, 861 So. 2d 90 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).

Reversal on Appeal – Challenged a seven-figure restitution award, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Sentencing order and restitution amount vacated. United States of America v. Steven Calman Siegel, 153 F. 3d 1256 (11th Cir. 1998).

Professional Recognition

  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers (2013-2023)
  • Named the Most Successful Lawyer in Criminal Justice for South Florida by The Miami Daily Business Review (2012).
  • Selected for inclusion in National “Top Rated Attorneys: White Collar Criminal Defense” by The National Law Journal, American Lawyer, and Corporate Counsel (2012)
  • Selected as 1 of 12 “Winning” trial attorneys in the United States by The National Law Journal (June 2009)
  • Listed in the Top 100 in South Florida by the South Florida Legal Guide (2009)
  • Listed in Florida Trend magazine’s Florida Legal Elite (2005, 2006, and 2008)
  • Listed in Up and Comer’s, South Florida Legal Guide (2004)
  • Best of the Bar, South Florida Business Journal (2003)

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Board of Directors, Doctors Charter School of Miami Shores (June 2015 – September 2016)
  • Head Coach and Program Founder, Doctors Charter School Middle School Baseball (2015); Doctors Charter Varsity Baseball (2017)
  • Chair, the Florida Bar’s Grievance Committee 11-I (2012-2015)
  • The Florida Bar’s Grievance Committee 11-B (2003-2006)
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) – Miami Chapter, Board of Directors (2002-2011)
  • Dade County Bar Association
  • Miami Light Project, Board of Directors (2006-2007)
  • YWCA Criminal Court Care Program, Board of Directors (2007-2008)
  • Varsity Hockey, University of Connecticut (1986, 1988)
  • Lacrosse, University of Connecticut (1987)

Background

  • Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, PA, Miami, FL, Shareholder (2008-2015)
  • Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Miami, FL, Of Counsel (2000-2008)
  • Assistant Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Florida (1997-2000)
  • Assistant Public Defender, Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office (1993-1997)

 

Education

University of Miami School
of Law (J.D., 1993)

University of Connecticut
(B.A., 1989)

Bar Admissions

Florida

Court Admissions

Florida State Courts

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

U.S. District Court, District of Puerto Rico, admission pro hac vice

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, admission pro hac vice

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, admission pro hac vice

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, admission pro hac vice

Massachusetts Superior Court, admission pro hac vice

Publications

Co-Author, “Book Review: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a New Era,” The Florida Bar Journal September/October 2014 (September 2014).

“Oral Arguments Heard In Historic ’Foreign Official’ Challenge,” FCPAProfessor.com (October 2013).

Quoted, “Empty Rhetoric,” FCPA Professor (November 8, 2012).

Quoted, “Richard Bistrong Reports To Prison,” FCPA Professor (October 1, 2012).

Featured, “Bribery Case Falls Apart, and Tactics Are Doubted,” The New York Times (February 23, 2012).

Co-Author, “Corporate Internal Investigations: A Modern Cost of Doing Business” (2012).

Quoted, “Racy, vulgar texts hurt Justice Department’s largest sting operation targeting foreign bribery,” Washington Post (February 2012).

Featured, “FED’s Tough Stance on Bribes Suffers Setback,” Daily Business Journal Justice Watch (January 9, 2012).

Featured, “Tax Evasion: Father-and-Son South Florida Businessmen Accused of Fraud, Filing False Tax Returns,” BNA, Inc. White Collar Crime Report, Vol. 5, No. 12 (June 4, 2010).

Featured, “Former Puerto Rico Governor, Assistant Acquitted on All Charges in Corruption Trial,” BNA White Collar Crime Report, Vol. 4, No. 9. (April 24, 2009).

Co-Author, “United States v. Val M. Northcutt, et. al. – An Antitrust Case Study,” for the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section White Collar Crime Newsletter (Spring 2009).

Featured, “Special Report: White-Collar Crime,” in the Daily Business Review (July 2008).

Speaking Engagements

Interviewed, FCPA Flash Podcast (March 18, 2016)

Speaker, “Superior Direct and Cross-Examination: Demonstrations from White Collar Trial Masters of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section,” Boca Raton, Florida (May 2013)

Participant, “Best of The Bar Criminal Mock Trial,” Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Young Lawyers Division, Miami, Florida (April 2013)

Panelist, “The Ins and Outs of Defending Individuals Involved in Corporate Scandals,” American Conference Institute’s White Collar Litigation Conference, New York, New York (January 2013)

Panelist, “The Trial of an FCPA Case: Pitfalls and Pratfalls,” American Bar Association National Institute on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Washington, D.C. (October 2012) Click here for coverage of the panel presentation.

Panelist, “Inside the Defense of the Africa Sting, Lindsay Manufacturing and O’Shea FCPA Prosecutions: What Recent Cases Reveal About the Future of FCPA Enforcement Against Individuals,” American Conference Institute’s 15th Annual FCPA Boot Camp, Chicago, IL (June 2012)

“White Collar Criminal Practice in Florida – Perspectives from the Prosecution and Defense: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Developments and Trends,” American Bar Association White Collar Crime Section (September 8, 2011)

Moderator, “Conducting the Internal Investigation While the Rest of the World Watches,” American Bar Association Sections of Litigation and Criminal Justice 2011 Annual Conference (April 14, 2011)

“Criminal Jury Trial in the Marine Hose Case,” American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law, Trial Practice Committee and Cartel & Criminal Practice Committee Teleconference (May 8, 2009)

“Ethical Problems in Multi-Defendant Cases,” at the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ 20th Annual Statewide Meeting (August 2007)