John Nassikas co-chairs the firm's White Collar Defense practice, where he concentrates on complex parallel criminal and civil litigations and internal corporate investigations. 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; global anti-corruption; antitrust; and SEC enforcement. Mr. Nassikas has extensive experience in federal grand jury practice and trial work both as a defense attorney and as a former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He deals regularly with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) 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 helped an array of pharmaceutical and medical device companies and health care providers navigate intricate multi-jurisdictional matters over the past three decades.

Mr. Nassikas is a frequent speaker at ABA and other conferences on fraud, 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 at the Federal Bar Association on corporate and individual criminal law topics. He is former Chairman of the Criminal Law Committee of the DC Bar Association.


  • Leads trial and defense teams in complex parallel criminal and civil investigations. Recent public cases include corporate defenses of Oracle Corp. (U.S. ex rel. Paul Frascella v. Oracle Corp. 1:07cv529) (E.D.Va.) (Brinkema, J., Jones, J.) and Par Pharmaceutical Companies (D.N.J.-2:13-mj-08080-MCA-1) (D.D.C.-1:11-cv-1820-RWR) (3rd Cir.-11-2679), and individual defenses of executives and managers in investigations involving, among others, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), KPMG, Hitachi Automotive, NGK Ltd., Lufthansa/BizJet, Chi Mei Opto Electronics, Synthes, Guidant, Biomet, Purdue Pharma, Stryker/OtisMed, and Embraer.
  • Won dismissal in US District Court for Eastern District of Virginia (Ellis, J.) for one of the two defendants in the so-called "AIPAC Espionage Act case." (U.S. v. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, Case No. 1:05cr225). 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 within months by dismissing the 10-year investigation and prosecution on eve of trial.
  • Has defended an array of individuals, including government and Cabinet officials, corporate managers and executives, lobbyists, doctors, lawyers, and accountants, investigated by federal and state prosecutors nationwide and by international law enforcement.
  • Represented former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a government witness in the classified leak prosecution of an ex-CIA employee (U.S. v. Sterling, E.D. Va.).
  • Represented Washington Wizards basketball team in grand jury investigation of guns in players locker room at Verizon Center.
  • Lead trial counsel for large French multinational corporation, Jacques Dessange Inc., 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.
  • Served as lead counsel to Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. 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 (In re: Grand Jury Matter, Case No. 11-2679) and publicly filed First Amendment and statutory challenge to FDA's intended use regulations in federal court in Washington, DC (Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. v. United States of America, US FDA, Margaret Hamburg, M.D., and Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary).
  • Won habeas trial in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Ellis, J.) gaining release from federal custody of Alexander Konanykhin, whom INS had detained and begun deportation proceedings against at request of KGB and FBI. To end affirmative discovery proceedings brought by defense, DOJ settled and paid defense legal fees and costs.
  • Served as counsel to lead defendant of post-9/11 Virginia "Paintball Jihad" case. Appointed by US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema.
  • Served as lead defense counsel in cases brought by DOJ and Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
  • Represented Chief of Staff of Congressman Robert Ney in Jack Abramoff-related investigations. Chief of Staff was first of the government cooperators to be sentenced and received community service, with no jail time.
  • First of many corporate defenses over years: part of team in 1980s that defended GPU Nuclear Corp. relating to the Three Mile Island accident.
  • First of many trials over years: defended 13 Ukrainian-American students in 1980s on Equal Protection and First Amendment grounds for right to protest in front of Soviet Embassy.

Recent Significant Pro Bono Cases

  • Center for Legal Advocacy, Cunningham, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (12-cv-01570-RPM), seeking humane treatment of prisoners with serious mental illness incarcerated at the Supermax facility in Florence, CO.
  • Newbrough v. Piedmont Regional Jail Authority (3:10-cv-00867-Judges Henry Hudson and David Novak), wrongful death of foreign citizen in ICE custody, filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Case settled favorably for estate before Judge Novak.


DOJ Issues New Guidance on Evaluating the Effectiveness of Compliance Programs
Nassikas, Bauer, Lester Featured in Anti-Corruption Report Q&A on Defense Strategy for Embraer Executive
Anti-Corruption Report
Long-Arm Reach of Criminal Law: The Positives and the Perils
The Harvard Law Record
Deskbook on Internal Investigations, Corporate Compliance and White Collar Issues (2nd Edition)
PLI Practising Law Institute
DOJ Announces New FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy


Best Lawyers
Criminal Defense: White Collar (2020)
The Legal 500 US
Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense (2014-2019)
Antitrust: Cartel (2017)
Chambers USA
Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (DC) (2011-2019)


  • 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
  • Former Chairman, Criminal Law Committee of the District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Former Trial Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

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