In case you don’t know, Ben Kuehne (an extremely prominent Florida lawyer) was indicted for, as far as I can tell, conducting due diligence on the sources of funds use to pay the legal fees of people accused of having some role in the drug trade. WhiteCollarCrimBlog has been covering this, so read his posts. Essentially, a number of defense lawyers were concerned that the fees they were receiving were from the drug trade, so they hired Mr. Kuehne to investigate the funds. He seems to have conducted a considerably large investigation and concluded that the funds came from the sale of various live-stock related things.
It has been argued that 1) the indictment is conclusory; and 2) the only possible reason why the funds might have been tainted, is that the funds were actually from some sting operation run by the FBI.. (I think I am getting this straight, I have not been following this issue)
The DOJ indicted him. I say “DOJ” because all the signatures are from “Main Justice” and they claim that everyone in Florida had a conflict. White Collar Crim Prof Blog has been covering this and speculates that the “real” conflict is that Kuehne was Al Gore’s lawyer, and Kuehne “If the government knows the source of the funds is improper because of their ‘undercover operation’ would it not be logical that the defense attorney could not know the source of these funds - after all it would mean that the government undercover operation was not working effectively.”
Whatever the case, if what the bloggers are saying is correct, it sets a very dangerous precedent to indict lawyers for conducting good-faith due diligence.