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Craig M. Warner
Biography

Craig M. Warner is a Partner with the firm’s Litigation and White Collar Criminal and Regulatory Defense practices. Craig advises clients ranging from middle market companies to Fortune 500 corporations on how to manage active and potential litigation and investigations. He works side-by-side with clients, their executives, officers, directors, and in-house counsel to formulate litigation strategies that are commensurate with the client’s overall business goals. Where appropriate, he knows how to settle cases quickly, and as an experienced trial lawyer, he can lead trial teams in both state and federal courts throughout Texas, North Carolina, and the nation.


Craig has represented Fortune 500 companies, some of the nation’s largest privately held businesses, and key Texas state agencies in the energy, financial services, insurance, and consumer sectors. He also regularly represents small and mid-sized businesses, 501(c)(3) organizations, and individuals, both before and during litigation and government investigations. His matters range from complex class action defense, multi-million dollar construction arbitrations and real estate disputes, and financial industry litigation, to the direct recovery of amounts due for goods and services rendered by small and mid-sized vendors. Prior to joining Bell Nunnally & Martin, Craig served as both a Naval Officer and Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was lead counsel for the United States in multiple jury trials that resulted in life sentences for criminal kingpins. 

Pre-Litigation Counseling

Craig regularly advises business clients and their key constituents about the viability of legal actions and their defenses, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of a range of litigation strategies, including mediations and arbitrations. In his pre-litigation counseling, he has assisted clients with disputes involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, business torts (such as unfair competition, defamation, and fraud), and a range of activities that trigger potential criminal liability.

Trial Experience

As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Naval Judge Advocate, and Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General’s office, Craig has more than eight years of experience as lead trial counsel on a wide variety of civil and criminal matters. These include international and interstate drug trafficking and money laundering prosecutions, the defense of complex federal class action claims, and defending senior U.S. Marines against allegations of hazing arising from events in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  

Business Litigation

Since entering private practice in 2012, Craig has litigated countless civil cases at Summary Judgment, bench trial, or by plea or settlement, including disputes arising from import/export trade contracts, energy-industry supply problems, and luxury real estate transactions.

In addition, Craig has broad class action defense experience. He has represented one of Forbes’ “100 Largest Private Companies” as associate counsel in a major consumer class action, served as lead counsel for the State of Texas in another federal class action, and appeared as both associate and lead counsel in securities class actions. He has repeatedly litigated such cases to favorable settlements approved by federal courts.

FINRA Arbitrations and Enforcement Proceedings

Craig has considerable experience representing brokerage houses and individual Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in regulatory proceedings. He has represented both brokerage houses and individual advisors in FINRA intra-industry arbitrations focused on non-solicitation covenants and the use of proprietary information. He also regularly represents RIAs and other financial professionals facing enforcement proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and has repeatedly obtained the dismissal of such enforcement actions or significant reductions in the penalties sought. 

White Collar Criminal Defense & Corporate Investigations/Compliance

In his white collar/internal investigations work, Craig was associate counsel for a Fortune 500 company applicant in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Corporate Leniency Program and the nearly two-year internal investigation that resulted. The matter was resolved when the Department of Justice closed its investigation. He has investigated alleged violations of federal law threatened against Texas hospitals and medical practices, represented businesses and 501(c)(3) organizations facing False Claims Act allegations, and proactively advised businesses and 501(c)(3) organizations about compliance issues.

Appellate Work

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Craig successfully represented the United States in five appeals before the U.S. Courts of Appeals. These included complex Fourth Amendment and trial evidence issues. 

Military Service

In 2007, during his service as a Naval Judge Advocate, Craig volunteered for deployment to Fallujah, Iraq with Regimental Combat Team – 6, United States Marine Corps. Later, Craig continued his military service with the Texas Army National Guard, reaching the rank of Major and serving as the Brigade Judge Advocate for the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a qualified Airborne Paratrooper who contributed to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts throughout Texas and conducted a three-week military exercise with dozens of African and European militaries as part of Special Operations Detachment-Africa (Airborne) in 2017.

Personal Life & Community Involvement

Craig is an active member of the St. Thomas More Society and of Christ the King Catholic Church in Dallas. He serves as co-president of the Christ the King Kingsmen, which is closely involved in the support of Christ the King Catholic School. He serves on the Board of Carecenter Ministries, a charity serving the poor in urban Dallas. 

Craig lives in Dallas with his wife, Heidi, and their three children.

Education

  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2004
  • B.A., With Distinction, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2001

Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States District Courts for the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Related Industry

Representative Matters
  • Obtained a complete plaintiff’s verdict and substantial judgment at summary judgment, including pre-and-post judgment interest, in a federal court against a Brazilian importer of a popular American beer after the importer refused to pay for $1.8 million in shipments.
  • Represented Registered Investment Advisors facing enforcement proceedings before FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission, successfully obtaining the outright dismissal of such enforcement actions by both FINRA and the SEC.
  • Conducted internal investigations for hospitals and medical practices on Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, and False Claims Act allegations raised in qui tam litigation.
  • Advised a Fortune 100 company applicant in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Program and the nearly two-year internal investigation that resulted. The matter was resolved when the Department closed its investigation.
  • Obtained a substantial judgment as lead counsel in Texas state court on behalf of a supplier of essential energy industry products whose customers had failed to make prompt payment.
  • As lead counsel for the State of Texas in a complex federal civil rights class action case, led a litigation team of eight attorneys and worked extensively with leaders in the Attorney General’s Office, Governor’s Office, and Legislature to successfully secure a favorable settlement.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, twice tried drug syndicate kingpin cases to jury as lead counsel, resulting each time in conviction on all counts and a life sentence.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, obtained convictions for bribery and illegal gratuities in a case involving an Army Officer secretly receiving cash from Iraqi contractors during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, led a three-year interagency investigation involving multiple Title III wiretaps into an international syndicate, then secured the indictment and conviction of more than a dozen conspirators, including a prison official.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, was one of three Department of Justice officials assigned to lead the interagency task force responsible for the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of serial killer Israel Keyes.
  • As part of a small team, successfully obtained the closing of enforcement investigations from a number of finance industry entities facing investigation by the SEC and FINRA.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, successfully represented the United States in five appeals before the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
  • As a Naval prosecutor, obtained the conviction of a senior officer for insurance fraud years after the fraud was complete.
  • As a Naval prosecutor, obtained the conviction of a senior Sailor as lead counsel at Court Martial for security clearance violations relating to the “SF-86” background form.
  • As lead Naval Defense Counsel, obtained a complete acquittal at Court-Martial for a Marine Corps Staff Sergeant charged with hazing, orders violations, and dereliction of duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • As lead Naval Defense Counsel, obtained the complete dismissal of aggravated sexual assault charges after a hotly litigated Article 32 preliminary hearing, successfully preventing referral of charges to Court-Martial.
  • As lead Naval Defense Counsel, obtained recommendations of “retention” for numerous Sailors and Marines facing Administrative Separation Boards, thereby preserving military careers and retirements.
Noteworthy
  • Commended by the Department of Justice for excellence in trial work during a “difficult” seven-day jury trial resulting in a successful conviction: “[Though] the evidence against [the defendant] was the weakest among all of the co-conspirators….AUSA Warner cross-examined the defendant and was able to elicit damaging testimony that made the defendant’s explanation for his presence at the scene implausible.”
  • Awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal for outstanding achievements as a Naval Prosecutor: “Inheriting a high-visibility child sex case that had stalled for 18 months, quickly compelled a favorable deal for the government through exceptional advocacy and unparalleled tenacity. Responsible for the successful prosecution of a [Lieutenant Commander] for insurance fraud, handling this sensitive case with aplomb.”
  • Served as Deputy Regimental Judge Advocate – Detainee Operations with Regimental Combat Team – 6, United States Marine Corps, in Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 and 2007, earning the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Officer Warfare Qualification, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Eagle, Globe & Anchor Insignia, and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, among other awards.
  • Continuing military service as a Reservist, qualified as an Airborne Paratrooper at the U.S. Army Airborne School, traveled to Africa to train indigenous militaries during Operation Flintlock 2017. And provided humanitarian relief during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Qualified as an U.S. Army Airborne Paratrooper through service with the Texas Army National Guard in 2016. In a two-week exercise in Africa in 2017, trained hundreds of senior African military Officers in the Law of Armed Conflict and Counterinsurgency.
Activities & Memberships
  • Major – Judge Advocate, Texas Army National Guard
  • Dallas Bar Association, Litigation and Criminal Sections
  • St. Thomas More Society, Dallas Chapter