Kobie Flowers and Joshua Treem address the threat to civil liberties posed by the Justice Department’s “taint teams.”

Brown, Goldstein & Levy partners Kobie Flowers and Joshua Treem were recently featured in an article entitled, “The Justice Department Was Dangerous Before Trump. It’s Out of Control Now,” in which Matt Taibbi examines an alarming pattern of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) endangering civil liberties. One such incident outlined is a harrowing experience of intimidation and abuse of power suffered by BGL at the hands of the DOJ.

The article details how the Maryland U.S. Attorney and federal agents orchestrated a historic raid on the BGL office without warning in 2019. The federal agents, armed with guns and dressed in Kevlar vests, worked with federal prosecutors to wrongly accuse Treem with falsifying documents, obstructing an official proceeding, and conspiring to commit crimes against the federal government during his legal representation of Ken Ravenell. At trial, a federal jury fully acquitted Treem. The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office believed Ravenell, one of the top criminal attorneys in the country, was part of a criminal marijuana drug operation. While Ravenell was wrongly convicted, he is fighting his case on appeal.

Ultimately, the Fourth Circuit determined that the raid of BGL was unconstitutional because the government took documents protected by the attorney-client privilege and the work produce doctrine. The Fourth Circuit’s opinion—In re Search Warrant Issued June 13, 2019, 942 F.3d 159 (4th Cir. 2019)—remains the leading opinion holding that DOJ cannot use taint teams to determine privilege. That determination belongs to judges—not prosecutors. DOJ abuses its power when it usurps a judicial function for itself. Matt Taibbi’s article tells the back story behind this important case and others.

Kobie Flowers, a former civil rights prosecutor at the DOJ and a former public defender, highlights in the article that these federal “taint teams” and raids pose a very real threat to criminal defense attorneys and stopping DOJ’s abuse of its near absolute power: “Who’s going to raise their hand against the most powerful government in the history of humankind, if doing so means that you might be searched, have armed agents raid your offices, and then be wrongly accused?”

Brown, Goldstein & Levy’s experienced criminal defense attorneys represent clients during all phases of the criminal process—from investigation to trial to appeal. We also represent clients in the quasi-criminal realm of corporate internal investigations, government investigations, and Title IX proceedings. Our criminal defense lawyers consistently obtain acquittals, dismissals of charges, and declinations of prosecutions. We have been intimately involved with over 100 trials and appeals combined. We have won trials and appeals against the most powerful government in history.


Kobie Flowers is one of the nation’s preeminent trial lawyers, with over twenty years of courtroom experience. He has litigated cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States and internationally in military commissions in Guantanamo Bay. His first-chair trial experience in building cases for the government as a federal civil rights prosecutor and in fighting the government’s efforts as an assistant federal public defender provides him with an uncommon insight into trial practice.


Joshua Treem represents individual and corporate clients in a broad spectrum of legal matters. He appears frequently in state and federal courts across Maryland and neighboring jurisdictions in cases involving every facet of criminal investigations and prosecutions. He is particularly well known for his aggressive representation of individuals, including public officials, lobbyists, and high-level state administrators, as well as businesses, in state and federal criminal investigations and grand jury proceedings.