Tobacco Scheme Goes Up In Smoke

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Tobacco Scheme Goes Up In Smoke

A paralegal working on a multi-billion dollar tobacco industry lawsuit swiped his own firm's confidential trial plan and attempted to sell it to lawyers representing the opposition, including R. J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and other cigarette companies, The Smoking Gun has learned.

But as this criminal complaint shows, Said Farraj's bid for a $2 million payday was foiled when lawyers on both sides of the high-stakes tobacco litigation tipped the FBI to the scheme. Farraj and his brother,Yeazid, were arrested in late-July for their brazen, Internet-aided plot, which has not been previously disclosed by investigators. Court records indicate that lawyers for the Farraj brothers--both of whom are facing conspiracy and interstate theft charges--are currently involved in plea negotiations with New York federal prosecutors.

Said Farraj allegedly took the trial plan during the month he worked this year at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which is representing one of the plaintiffs in the tobacco lawsuit. The 400-page trial plan, records show, included the plaintiffs's "trial strategy," deposition excerpts, and "references to anticipated court exhibits." The tobacco case is scheduled for trial soon in Brooklyn federal court.

After his paralegal stint, Farraj took a job as a summer intern with the New York State Attorney General's office, where he was working when he got pinched in July. Released on $50,000 bond, Farraj has now returned to Quinnipiac College, where he is a third-year law student.

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