Isn't there a law that forbids being trialed more than once for the same events ?
Yes, there is. In fact, his lawyer is going to appeal invoking double jeopardy.
That being said, it looks like that law may not favor him because:
Once again, however, the law is not as simple as it first appears because the statute has an important exception if the earlier case was “terminated by a court order expressly founded upon insufficiency of evidence to establish some element of such offense which is not an element of the other offense, defined by the laws of this state.” Roughly translated, that means Mr. Aleynikov probably can be prosecuted again because the federal case focused on tangible property, while the New York charges cover computer programs.
There is a good chance the latest charges will move forward, which makes Mr. Aleynikov’s demand that Goldman pay his legal fees all the more important because the earlier case essentially bankrupted him. According to a complaint filed in the United States District Court in New Jersey, he claims that the legal fees for the federal case were approximately $2.4 million, and the state case is likely to run up a similar bill.
By the way, here is another weird tidbit about the case:
It seems a bit odd that someone accused of stealing from his employer can demand that it pay for his lawyer, but that is how the law operates for public companies like Goldman that agree to indemnify their employees for legal fees and make advance payments of those costs.
Goldman’s bylaws require it to indemnify an officer for all costs in any proceeding, including a criminal prosecution. As a vice president at Goldman, Mr. Aleynikov appears to come within the scope of the bylaws that entitle him to seek payment of his fees.
The bylaws commit Goldman to pay Mr. Aleynikov’s fees in advance of a resolution of the case as long as he agrees to repay the money if it is determined he is not entitled to it, which he has done.
Fabrice Tourre, who is on leave as a vice president, is having many of his legal expenses covered by Goldman as he faces a securities fraud lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Goldman also paid a portion of the legal fees of its former director, Rajat Gupta, to defend him against insider trading charges, even though he was accused (and later convicted) of passing confidential information received from the firm.
Even better for Mr. Aleynikov is a provision of Delaware law, the state in which Goldman is incorporated, that requires a company to pay the legal fees of an officer who “has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit or proceeding.”
When the appeals court reversed the conviction and ordered a dismissal of the charges, he was successful, even though the court also noted at one point that “Aleynikov stole purely intangible property embodied in a purely intangible format.”
That does not mean Goldman will pay the $2.4 million or advance additional money anytime soon, however. Companies loathe this type of claim because it makes them responsible for costs when they consider themselves the victim of a crime, and so there is an incentive to litigate the claim. Given Mr. Aleynikov’s dire financial condition, the firm could try to stall the case in the hope that he will settle for a smaller payment.