By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO | Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:58pm EDT
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -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 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.