Former Va. AG on Bank of America foreclosure legal team

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (BestGrowthStock) -Bank of America (BAC.N: ) is bringing in the former Attorney General of Virginia as well as law firms with deep Washington experience to help defend against a probe by U.S. states into its foreclosure practices.

Richard Cullen, chairman of the McGuireWoods law firm and Virginia attorney general from 1997-1998, is one of the lawyers representing the nation’s largest mortgage servicer. Cullen has already been communicating with the offices of various state attorneys general, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

All 50 state AGs recently announced a joint probe of the banking industry (Read more about the banking industry recovery.) amid reports of faulty foreclosure affidavits submitted to U.S. courts. Besides Bank of America, other servicers such as JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: ) and Ally Financial have also been under the microscope over the use of “robo-signers” — people who sign hundreds of affidavits a day.

“It makes a lot of sense for a company to hire people who have concentrated experience in dealing with state AGs,” said Nicholas Gess, a former Department of Justice attorney who worked with state attorneys general.

Cullen served on President George W. Bush’s legal team during the Florida vote recount after the 2000 presidential election. He also represented Republican Tom DeLay in a recent federal probe that did not result in any charges being filed against the former U.S. House of Representatives majority leader.

Through a spokesman Cullen declined to comment on Bank of America. The company also did not answer questions on Wednesday.

Bank of America has also turned to a former top Justice Department lawyer in the George W. Bush administration to represent it in dealings with state attorneys general.

Brian Boyle, formerly principal deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, participated in a conference call between the bank and representatives from the Florida attorney general’s office, a spokeswoman for the office said.

The Washington-based Boyle, now partner in the O’Melveny & Myers law firm, also represented Bank of America’s Countrywide unit in its settlement with attorney generals over subprime lending.

The O’Melveny firm defended Bank of America in a lawsuit brought by investors attempting to force the bank to buy back mortgages impacted by that AG settlement. A judge in New York recently dismissed the litigation.

Boyle declined to comment.

(Reporting by Dan Levine, Editing by Jackie Frank)

Former Va. AG on Bank of America foreclosure legal team