Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Specialty: Complex civil litigation
Law School: Georgetown, 1966
Robert Bonner defending Heidi Fleiss for income-tax evasion and money laundering? In an earlier incarnation, he would never have been caught defending the infamous Hollywood Madam. Bonner was known for prosecuting criminal wrongdoers not being on their side.
His reputation as a tough-as-nails prosecutor stems from his stint as U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles from 1984 through 1989. He grabbed the media spotlight in 1986 when he successfully prosecuted former FBI Agent Richard Miller for passing secrets to the Soviet Union through his lover, Svetlana Ogorodnikov, a Soviet immigrant. The first FBI agent to be convicted of espionage, Miller was sentenced to two life terms plus 50 years in prison. (An appellate court reversed the conviction in 1989, and granted Miller a new trial.)
Bonner was appointed to the U.S. District Court in 1989 but he wasn't a judge for long. In 1990, he became administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, supervising the country's narcotic enforcement programs.
Bonner joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 1993 and is a partner in the firm's Los Angeles and Washington offices. His practice is focused on business and white-collar crime matters, complex civil cases, internal corporate investigations and corporate compliance programs.
He did suffer a blow in the Fleiss case: After deliberating for six days, a federal jury in 1995 found her guilty of eight counts of conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering. But the jury also acquitted her of two other counts concerning allegations that she lied on a loan application.
Bonner, 57, now handles a more conventional clientele, including municipalities and corporations. Among his current cases, he represents the city of Long Beach in its $400 million breach of faith and fair dealing suit against Exxon Corp.
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