John Nassikas draws on his extensive experience in federal grand jury practice and trial work to counsel clients on complex parallel criminal and civil litigations, internal corporate investigations, and cross-border cases across a wide range of industries. In ranking him in the top tier of Washington defense counsel, Chambers USA describes Mr. Nassikas as a "strong communicator" and "strategic thinker with an approach that inspires confidence." He has defended companies and individuals in significant federal and state investigations throughout the United States and internationally, particularly in the areas of financial, healthcare, and government contracts fraud and global anti-corruption, antitrust, and environmental enforcement.

As a former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mr. Nassikas' deep government experience has earned him high respect among enforcement agencies. He regularly engages with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and federal and state enforcement agencies across the country. He has broad experience with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the False Claims Act (FCA), and the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), and has successfully represented an array of pharmaceutical and medical device companies and health care providers in multi-jurisdictional national and international matters for over three decades.

Mr. Nassikas is a frequent speaker at ABA and other conferences on cross-border, First Amendment, and other criminal law issues. He has been a visiting law school lecturer on criminal law and an instructor of continuing legal education courses on corporate and individual criminal law topics, and is former Chairman of the Criminal Law Committee of the DC Bar Association. A committed advocate of non-profit work and community service, Mr. Nassikas currently serves on the advisory board of the Amazon Biodiversity Center.


  • Leads trial and defense teams in complex parallel criminal and civil investigations. Recent public cases include corporate defenses of AdvanSix Inc., Boston Scientific, Oracle Corp., and Par Pharmaceutical, and individual defenses of executives and managers in investigations involving, among others, Computer Sciences Corporation, KPMG, Hitachi Automotive, NGK Ltd., Lufthansa/BizJet, Chi Mei OptoElectronics/Innolux, Synthes, Guidant, Biomet, Purdue Pharma, Stryker/OtisMed, American Gypsum, and Embraer.
  • One of the two defendants in the "AIPAC Espionage Act case" in successful dismissal in the US District Court for Eastern District of Virginia (Ellis, J.). The Fourth Circuit (557 F.3d 192) issued a landmark ruling in favor of the two former AIPAC foreign policy advocates on both CIPA issues and evidentiary standards under the Espionage Act for conduct covered by the First Amendment, and DOJ followed by dismissing the 10-year investigation and prosecution on eve of trial. US v. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, Case No. 1:05cr225
  • Par Pharmaceutical Companies in large-scale, multi-year off-label promotion investigation by the DOJ, US Food and Drug Administration, and New Jersey US Attorney's Office, and in a related Third Circuit Appeal, and publicly filed First Amendment and statutory challenge to FDA's intended use regulations in federal court in Washington, DC.
  • Lead defense counsel in cases brought by Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
  • Washington Wizards professional basketball team in grand jury investigation of guns in players locker room at Verizon Center.
  • Former Embraer executive Colin Steven in a global FCPA investigation by US, Brazilian, and Saudi authorities. At sentencing, after a five-year investigation and prosecution, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York rewarded Steven for his cooperation by ordering only forfeiture and a small fine, with no jail or probation.
  • One of four SunTrust Mortgage loan officers and executives as lead trial lawyer in prosecution brought by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Fair Housing Finance Administration Office of Inspector General.
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a government witness in the classified leak prosecution of an ex-CIA employee. US v. Sterling, E.D. Va.
  • Jacques Dessange as lead trial counsel in multi-defendant conspiracy trial in US District Court for S.D.N.Y., leading to small fine and community service, with no employee convictions.
  • Alexander Konanykhin, whom INS had detained and begun deportation proceedings against at request of KGB and FBI, in winning habeas trial in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Ellis, J.).
  • Lead defendant in post-9/11 Virginia "Paintball Jihad" case. Appointed by US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema.
  • Chief of Staff of Congressman Robert Ney in Jack Abramoff-related investigations. Chief of Staff was first of government cooperators to be sentenced and received community service, with no jail time.
  • GPU Nuclear relating to the Three Mile Island accident.


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Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement
Global Anti-Corruption Insights: Winter 2023
Update on Recent Enforcement, Litigation, and Compliance Developments
Deskbook on Internal Investigations, Corporate Compliance, and White Collar Issues (2nd ed.)
Practising Law Institute
New FCPA Enforcement Actions Announced on the Heels of the Annual ACI Conference
Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement
DOJ Announces New Policies on Corporate Criminal Enforcement


LMG Life Sciences Guide
"Life Science Star"—White-Collar/Government Investigations (2018–2022)
"Life Science Star"—Non-IP Litigation (2012–2018)
Best Lawyers
Criminal Defense: White Collar (2020-2023)
Chambers USA
Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (DC) (2011-2022)


  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law, 1984
  • BA, Yale University, 1981, magna cum laude
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • US District Court, District of Columbia
  • US District Court, District of Maryland
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
Government & Military Service
  • Assistant US Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Court-Appointed Member, Merit Selection Panel for US Magistrate Judge openings, Eastern District of Virginia, 2021–2022
  • Former Chairman, Criminal Law Committee of the District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Former Trial Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

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