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Attorney
Keith Corbett

Keith Corbett

Senior Trial Attorney - Federal Crimes.

Prior to joining the Barone Defense Firm in 2013, Mr. Corbett spent several decades prosecuting complex financial crimes in the United States Federal Courts. For much of this time he was the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force for the United States Attorney’s Office. In this capacity he led the effort to convict the top leaders of racketeering and other charges and because of his department’s success, Mr. Corbett is largely credited with dismantling the Detroit Mafia. Most recently, Mr. Corbett was appointed as a Special Prosecutor to assist with the investigation of possible financial crimes associated with the Flint Water Crisis. Mr. Corbett brings this fearless brand of trial, litigation and leadership skill to the Barone Defense Firm’s Federal Crimes practice.

The son of a New York Police Officer, Mr. Corbett has been described by one of the many newspapers that featured him as “a cocky, street-smart Irish kid from Brooklyn.” After graduating in 1967 from a seminary with plans to become a priest, Mr. Corbett enrolled at Canisius College in Buffalo, where he obtained a political science degree in 1971. Then, in 1974, he graduated from the Notre Dame Law School in 1974 and was soon admitted to the Michigan Bar. His first government position was with the Oakland County Michigan Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. After a short stint with Oakland County Mr. Corbett joined the United States Attorney’s Office, where he spent the next three decades as a District Attorney.

Mr. Corbett was honored by receiving the Executive Director’s award for “Outstanding Trial Practice” from the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorney. Mr. Corbett has tried thousands of criminal cases at both the state and federal levels. Many of these cases were extraordinarily complicated financial crimes involving many dozens of boxes of evidence. It’s been said of Mr. Corbett that “he can try cases with little preparation yet recall key evidence with lethal precision.”

Because of his superior trial strategy and record of courtroom success, Mr. Corbett has been asked to teach trial tactics to attorneys at the University of Michigan School of Law and at The Department of Justice in South Carolina, Brazil, Uzbekistan, and Germany.

In His Own Words

I have been practicing law for more than 40 years now and for 35 of those years, I was a prosecutor—mostly in the federal system—for about 31 years. When I retired from government service, my area of expertise was criminal law, particularly federal financial fraud cases. As a defense attorney I didn’t really feel comfortable representing drug dealers, and organized crime figures. Instead, I decided to exclusively handle crimes where I could use the skills I had developed as a prosecutor and trial attorney in a context that would make me feel personally comfortable. Many doctors and lawyers that find themselves at the wrong end of a federal indictment are good hard-working people who made mistakes. This is why I handle white collar crimes such as health care and prescription fraud, billing fraud, Medicare fraud and the like. I also have a great deal of transferable experience that will allow me to work in the defense of public corruption charges, gun law violations and medical marijuana. With these crimes too the people we represent are solid citizens who may be falsely accused, or who may have made a poor decision one day and we do not want to see their lives ruined because of that. I believe that people shouldn’t lose their entire lives for one mistake. So, I enjoy the opportunity to help people overcome a poor decision, and move on, and put themselves in a position where they can go forward with their lives. Plus, I have the luxury of being able to decide what cases to accept and which to pass on.

Professional Work Experience

  • 2013 – Present: Senior Trial Attorney – Barone Defense Firm
  • 2011-2012: Partner – Corbett and Kozar PLLC
  • 2009-2010: Trial Counsel – Thomas Moore Law Center, Ann Arbor MI
  • 2005-2009:  Senior Trial Counsel, United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit MI
  • 1989-2005: Chief, Organized Crime Strike Force, United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
  • 1989: Senior Associate, Evans and Luptek, Detroit, MI.
  • 1986-1989: Senior Litigation Counsel, Public Corruption, United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
  • 1980-1986: Special Attorney, Organized Crime Strike Force, United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
  • 1978-1980: Assistant U.S. Attorney, Drug Unit, United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
  • 1977-1978: Associate, Law Office of Robert L. O’Connell, Pontiac, MI.
  • 1974-1977: Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor, Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, Pontiac, MI.

Trials of Note

United States v. Tocco et al, 2006

  • RICO prosecution of 17 members and associates of the Detroit La Cosa Nostra (LCN). Case involved utilization of extensive electronic
    surveillance

United States v. Zerilli, 2002

  • 2002 prosecution of the number two ranking member of the Detroit LCN.

United States v. Tocco et al, 1998

  • RICO prosecution of the leadership of the Detroit LCN. The prosecution
    lasted four months and involved six months of electronic surveillance. FBI declared that the successful result “Drove a stake through the heart of organized crime in Detroit.”

United States v. Beckham et al, 1982

  • Public Corruption RICO prosecution involving the efforts of a company
    known as Vista Disposal to secure a contract with the Detroit Water and
    Sewage Department through bribery.

United States v. Vitale, 1980

  • RICO prosecution involving Detroit LCN efforts to take over legitimate
    businesses in New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan through extortion.

Significant Accomplishments

  • United States Department of Justice Directors Award: 1999
  • Letters of Commendation
    • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: 1982, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2004
    • Attorney General: 1982, 1998

Relevant Educational Experience

Guest Lecturer:

  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Michigan
  • Attorney General’s Trial Advocacy Course 2004 1986 1984, 1986, 1990

United States Department of Justice Office of International Affairs:

    • Sao Paulo, Brazil
      1998 Spent two weeks advising the Brazilian National Police on Organized Crime issues and proposed legislative initiatives
    • Tashkent, Uzbekistan
      2000 Spent one week advising the governments of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan on Organized Crime issues and proposed legislative initiatives.

References

Hon. Richard F. Suhrheinrich
U.S. Court of Appeals
315 W. Allegan St.
Room 241
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: (517) 377-1513

Ms. Maura D. Corrigan
Butzel Long PC
150 W. Jefferson Ave.  Suite 100
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Phone (313) 225-5322

Hon. Avern Cohn
Theodore Levin United States Courthouse
231 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 234-5160

Mr. Saul A. Green
Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stowe
150 West Jefferson Ave.
Suite 2500
Detroit, MI 48228
Phone: (313) 496-7535
E-mail: greens@millercanfield.com

Keith Corbett
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