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Jason P. Criss

Of Counsel
Jason Criss

For nearly two decades, Jason Criss has guided clients through challenging government inquiries and internal investigations. In recent years, he has played a leading role in high-profile and sensitive investigations into reports of sexual misconduct and #MeToo issues, including two matters highlighted by Law360 when it named Covington’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice a 2018 White Collar Group of the Year. He also regularly advises clients on compliance issues and conducts investigations into potential violations of the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws.

Mr. Criss has advised news organizations and journalists on content liability and newsgathering issues, and has represented media organizations in First Amendment and defamation cases. He also advises clients in other industries on questions related to defamation, privacy, and FOIA and other open government laws.

White Collar Defense and Investigations

  • Co-led an independent investigation into issues of potential sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination at CBS News.
  • Co-led the firm’s independent investigation into adult sexual misconduct at Choate Rosemary Hall. Co-leading investigations into reports of sexual misconduct for a number of other independent schools.
  • Represents the United States Olympic Committee in connection with sexual abuse issues.
  • For AB InBev, obtained a declination from the DOJ and a favorable settlement from the SEC in parallel FCPA investigations into the company's former Indian joint venture.
  • Represented a senior executive of an energy company in the successful defense of a criminal prosecution by the Government of Ecuador and in related United States discovery proceedings.
  • Secured a prompt declination in an SEC investigation into potential FCPA violations at a food and beverage company’s Egyptian subsidiary.
  • Co-led investigation for a large multinational company into exports potentially in violation of the China Military Rule, resulting in the Commerce Department closing the matter without any monetary sanction or criminal referral.
  • Conducted internal investigations into potential violations of the FCPA and corporate policies for companies operating in Eastern Europe, India, and Latin America. '
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in a drug safety and labeling investigation. DOJ declined criminal prosecution of the company and declined to intervene in the relator’s False Claims Act suit.
  • Conducted an internal investigation into a military contractor's potential violations of the Internal Traffic in Arms Regulations.
  • Represented UnitedHealth Group Incorporated in multiple government investigations into stock options backdating. Developed UnitedHealth’s Plan of Remediation, which was praised by the SEC when it decided not to charge UnitedHealth with fraud or to seek a financial penalty from the company.
  • Represented Adelphia Communications Corporation in its defense of the federal criminal investigation, SEC enforcement action, and threatened forfeiture actions arising out of wrongdoing by members of the Rigas family. As a result of Covington’s efforts, DOJ agreed not to prosecute Adelphia, the SEC agreed to a settlement with an injunction and no monetary penalty, and the company obtained the forfeiture and return of $1 billion in assets.

Media Law

  • Led team performing daily pre-broadcast review of news reports, editorials, and promotions for a group of 36 television stations. Regularly advised the stations’ reporters regarding newsgathering, defamation, and intellectual property matters.
  • Media counsel to The Marshall Project, a not-for-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering the United States criminal justice system.
  • Secured dismissal of a defamation suit filed against the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) and a WADA independent investigator.
  • Represented a local broadcaster and its investigative reporter in a defamation case dismissed before discovery.
  • Represented a local broadcaster in its successful First Amendment challenge to a mayor’s ban on city employees communicating with the station.

Pro Bono

  • Advise a broad range of not-for-profit organizations on defamation, copyright, and other media law issues.
  • Coordinated Covington’s representation of 25 families of uniformed rescuers killed at the World Trade Center, including the preparation of applications to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund resulting in the payment of $16.2 million in compensation, administration of victims’ estates, and the resolution of disputes with victims’ creditors.
  • Represented the named beneficiary of an award from the Austrian General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism in a federal interpleader action and the successful defense of the interpleader judgment in a Second Circuit appeal brought by competing claimants.
  • Represented the victim of terrorist attack in successful defense of defamation suit brought by her ex-husband.   
  • Represented media companies and press freedom organizations as amici in First Amendment appeals.
  • Represented a not-for-profit organization in grand jury investigation related to thefts from the organization by the organization’s former office manager.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Trustee, Temple Shaaray Tefila
  • Past President, Hunter College High School Alumnae/i Association
  • American Lawyer Global Dispute of the Year: U.S. Fraud Litigation (2014)
  • Legal 500 US, Litigation - White Collar Criminal Defense (2012)
  • Charles F.C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (2004)