Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No. 361: Greg Lindberg—Trial, Conviction, and an Important Court Order

Blogger's Note
After posting this item, I am suspending work on this blog. I do not know how long the suspension will continue.

North Carolina resident Greg E. Lindberg is the founder and chairman of Eli Global, LLC, an investment company; and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group, a managing company for numerous insurance and reinsurance companies. In March 2019, a federal grand jury charged Lindberg and three other individuals with criminal wrongdoing. The other defendants are John D. Gray, a Lindberg consultant; John V. Palermo Jr., a vice president of Eli Global; and Robert Cannon Hayes, chairman of the state Republican party in North Carolina. The indictment charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud; and one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, and aiding and abetting. Hayes was also charged with three counts of false statements. I first wrote about the case in No. 309 (April 17, 2019). (See U.S.A. v. Lindberg, U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Case No. 5-19-cr-22.)

My Previous Updates
In No. 320 (July 1, 2019), I reported that four Lindberg companies had been placed in rehabilitation by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. I also provided a brief update on the criminal case.

In No. 338 (October 24, 2019), I provided another update. I reported that Lindberg had filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. I also reported that Hayes pleaded guilty to one count of false statements. He is to be sentenced later.

In No. 355 (February 13, 2020), I provided another update. I reported that Gray and Palermo had filed motions to dismiss the indictment. I also reported that, on January 31, U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. issued an order denying the Lindberg, Gray, and Palermo motions to dismiss the indictment.

The Trial
The jury trial began February 18 and ended after eleven trial days. On March 5, the jury found Lindberg and Gray guilty on counts 1 and 2, and found Palermo not guilty on counts 1 and 2. The jury verdict form is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post. Reportedly Lindberg and Gray will appeal. Post-trial motions are due April 2.

The Court Order
On March 18, Judge Cogburn issued an important court order directed at Lindberg, Gray, and others. I decided to report on the order without waiting for the post-trial motions, Judge Cogburn's rulings on them, and the likely notice of appeal. The order, without citations, reads:
This matter comes before the Court on its own motion. On March 5, 2020, a jury returned a verdict in this case, finding that Defendants Greg Lindberg and John Gray were guilty of Conspiring to Commit Honest Services Wire Fraud, and Aiding and Abetting in Federal Funds Bribery. Shortly thereafter, this Court learned that an individual affiliated with Defendants was reaching out to the jurors in this matter. When a juror declined to speak with that individual, they were allegedly told, "don't you know these men could get life?" Neither offense includes a possible punishment of life imprisonment.
The Court reported this behavior to the United States Attorney's Office to commence a criminal investigation for jury harassment and intimidation. The Court also e-mailed the parties and instructed them that jury harassment and intimidation would not be tolerated. In response, on March 17, 2020, the Court received an email from Matt McCusker, a Senior Consultant and President with Convince LLC. In an attachment, McCusker informed the Court that he was a "Litigation Consultant who was retained by the defense in US v. Lindberg, Gray and Palermo." McCusker stated that, after the verdict, "[he] began reaching out to jurors to see if they would be willing to discuss the case with [him]." He assured the Court that, if jurors declined to speak, he "thanked them for their time and told them that they would not be hearing from [him] again." Finally, he underscored, "[t]o be crystal clear, there was no harassment, intimidation, or bullying" because "[t]hat type of behavior is unethical."
The Court reviewed the website of Convince LLC. When describing its post-trial juror interview services, Convince LLC maintains it can "benefit" litigants by "find[ing] out if a juror Googled during deliberations," which will "arm [the parties] for an appeal" and "[p]repare for the next iteration of [the] trial." The Court will not tolerate attempts to taint the jury's verdict by applying undue pressure on jury members. To maintain the integrity of the jury and criminal justice process, the Court now enters the following Order.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Defendants Lindberg and Gray, as well as their attorneys and agents, including Matt McCusker, SHALL NOT contact the jurors during the ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the United States Attorney's Office and until further order of this Court.
The full order, including the citations and the McCusker attachments, is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post. Readers may also visit McCusker's website at

General Observations
I have long been aware of litigation consultants who work with attorneys in selecting jurors and structuring presentations to appeal to jurors. However, I had not heard of litigation consultants who help in the appellate process through post-trial juror interviews (PTJIs). I recently learned that PTJIs have been discussed in legal circles for many years. The complimentary package offered at the end of this post includes a 1968 law review article on the subject.

The above court order suggests Judge Cogburn is not happy with PTJIs. It will be interesting to see the results of the criminal investigation he initiated and the extent to which it may delay post-trial proceedings.

Available Material
I am offering a complimentary 31-page package consisting of the jury verdict form (2 pages), Judge Cogburn's order including attachments (6 pages), and the 1968 law review article about PTJIs (23 pages). Email and ask for the March 2020 package about Lindberg.