Advice For Lehman's Dick Fuld: Take The Fifth

As a backdrop to the global market crash, Lehman CEO Dick Fuld will get his public lashing on Capitol Hill today. Members of Congress will compete for that one knockout soundbite that will reduce Fuld to jelly and dominate the airwaves for the next 12 hours.  A secondary goal will be to get Dick to say something that bolsters a potential criminal case against him.

Dick, meanwhile, is no doubt chomping at the bit to tell his side of the story. Now that everyone has concluded (probably unfairly) that he and other Lehman managers lied about the firm’s condition all the way down, he has his integrity to defend. His reputation, sadly, has already been destroyed.

Unfortunately for Dick, this isn’t the time or place.  No one will believe anything he says in his own defence–even if, as we suspect was the case, his mistake was only smashing his firm into an iceberg (not lying about it).

So what should Dick do?  The wise move is probably to cut his losses and take the Fifth.  If he hasn’t chosen to do that already, however, he probably won’t.  So here’s hoping he chooses his words carefully.


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