Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp, has brought in the heavy artillery to defend him in the case brought against him by the SEC alleging securities fraud and insider trading. On Monday, U.S. District Judge John Walter approved Mozilo's retention of Brendan Sullivan (pictured) of the D.C. law firm Williams & Connolly LLP.
Sullivan, a protege of the legendary Edward Bennett Williams, is perhaps best known for defending Colonel Oliver North ("I am not a potted plant!") in the 1987 congressional hearings examining the Iran-Contra affair. Since becoming a household name in the North matter, Sullivan has gone on to be known, in the words of Washingtonian Magazine, as "the quintessential litigator, the first choice of almost everyone in trouble--if you can get him." He recently successfully defended Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens on charges that he failed to properly report gifts.
On June 4, 2009, the SEC sued Mozilo and others at Countrywide, alleging that they deliberately misled investors about the significant credit risks being taken in efforts to build and maintain the company's market share. The SEC also charged Mozilo with insider trading for selling his Countrywide stock based on non-public information for nearly $140 million in profits.