John Moustakas, a partner in Goodwin's Securities Litigation + White Collar Defense Group, is a trial lawyer and former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He specializes in complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense, including conducting internal investigations on behalf of companies and representing companies and individuals in connection with government investigations, including congressional hearings. Because of his formidable skills as a jury trial lawyer, John has been sought after to try many complex civil cases as well.

Areas of Practice
Domaines de Pratique





First and foremost, Mr. Moustakas is a trial lawyer. He successfully has first-chaired more than 40 trials and argued nearly half as many appeals. His superior record as an Assistant United States Attorney is only surpassed by his success in private practice, where he has prevailed in every one of his cases that has gone to verdict. In addition to his many trials and appeals as a federal prosecutor, the following is a representative list of his diverse matters at Goodwin:

Representative Matters



Criminal Litigation
  • Obtained acquittals on all five criminal counts against D.C. police officers charged with defrauding the United States and making false statements.
  • Retained by Switzerland’s oldest private bank to conduct an internal investigation into its cross-border business and to defend it against allegations that it criminally conspired with U.S. taxpayers to defraud the U.S. government, evade taxes and file false returns.
  • In a case of first impression resulting in the creation of new law in the D.C. Circuit on jurisdiction under U.S. sanctions law, secured dismissal of a client’s indictment for brokering the sale of naval vessels in alleged violation of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
  • Obtained a declination of prosecution on behalf of a major government contractor in connection with an investigation into possible false claims relating to the transportation of explosives on behalf of the United States military.
  • Retained by a major government contractor to conduct an internal investigation into possible violations of federal statutes, including the Anti-Kickback Act.
  • Retained to represent a California computer reseller against a federal indictment alleging violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR), conspiracy, false statements, and obstruction of justice. Despite client’s exposure to a considerable term of imprisonment, Court granted our request for a probationary sentence over the Government’s strenuous objection. 
  • Retained to represent officer of a defense contractor charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States by making and soliciting “courtesy bids.” Although client’s guilty plea exposed him to a sentencing range of 33-41 months, the Court imposed a two-month sentence after being persuaded, over prosecutors’ strenuous objection, that the technical violations caused the United States no actual loss.
Civil Litigation
  • Won a three-week jury trial in federal court against the D.C. government for maintaining a pattern and practice of constitutionally deficient training and supervision of police officers which frequently resulted in wrongful arrests for disorderly conduct. Subsequently, successfully defended the case on government appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Prevailed at trial on behalf of a major insurance company in two separate trials over different trading restrictions in its variable insurance products.
  • Successfully litigated scores of asbestos claims, as well as bad faith insurance claims based on manufacturers’ settlement practices with respect to such claims, in both state and federal courts across the country.
  • Successfully defended at trial the largest owner and operator of apartment communities in the United States against contract and tort claims and, thereafter, secured on appeal affirmance of judgment in client’s favor and reversal of summary judgment obtained against client prior to the entry of Goodwin’s appearance.
  • Favorably settled a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a Washington, D.C. university after the commencement of trial.
Other Significant Matters
  • Representing the third highest ranking official in the U.S. Department of Defense in connection with House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearings into Bush administration policies with respect to the interrogation of terrorism detainees.
  • Defending the former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq in connection with an FBI probe into alleged leaks of sensitive U.S. intelligence.
  • Representing a former U.S. cabinet official with respect to a national security investigation.
  • Representing an online marketing and media firm in connection with a Senate Commerce Committee investigation.
  • Conducting several confidential internal investigations on behalf of a major international shipping line.
  • Defending the officer of a major defense contractor investigated, among other things, for economic espionage, resulting in declination of prosecution.
  • Defending a U.S. State Department whistleblower in connection with an investigation into alleged misappropriation of government secrets and leaks to the media, resulting in declination of both prosecution and adverse administrative action.
  • Representing a major healthcare provider in connection with a nationwide civil RICO conspiracy suit.
  • Exonerating and obtaining the reinstatement of a senior intelligence official wrongly accused of espionage and treason that was ultimately determined to be the wrongdoing of FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen.
Professional Activities

Mr. Moustakas has previously served as Co-Chair of the Courts, Lawyers and Administration of Justice Section of the D.C. Bar. He has also taught legal writing and advocacy at the Washington College of Law at American University and has appeared as a guest lecturer in an upper-level seminar on Federal Criminal Litigation. Mr. Moustakas is deeply committed to pro bono work and has won record settlements arising out litigation brought against the D.C. Jail.

Professional Experience

Mr. Moustakas was a partner at Shea & Gardner prior to its combination with Goodwin in 2004. He returned to Shea & Gardner in 2000 after serving more than six years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for criminal prosecutions in both federal and local District of Columbia courts. During his tenure as a prosecutor, he specialized, among other things, in complex cases involving public corruption and government fraud. He has structured and overseen long-term investigations leading to successful prosecutions involving mail, wire and bank fraud, money laundering, tax offenses, bribery, false statements, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy. He has also investigated and successfully tried several homicide cases.


Mr. Moustakas has been named a Washington, D.C. Superlawyer in 2007, and 2013-2015. In 2014, the trial team that he led received the Alan and Adrienne Barth Volunteer Service Award from the Washington, D.C. affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. Another of Mr. Moustakas’s pro bono cases has been featured in the American Lawyer magazine. In law school, Mr. Moustakas served as Note Editor on the Cornell Law Review.



Lettres de Créance



J.D., 1989
Cornell Law School

(cum laude)

B.A., 1986
Boston University

(magna cum laude)


1989 to 1990 U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Honorable Joseph L. Tauro
1990 to 1991 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Honorable Robert Boochever



District of Columbia


U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
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Our clients rely on us for world-class advisory services, counsel on complex transactional work and high-stakes litigation. Specializing in matters involving the financial, life sciences, private equity, real estate, and technology industries, we use a collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach to resolve our clients’ most challenging issues. To find out more, please contact us.
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Nos clients comptent sur nous pour des services de conseil de classe mondiale, des conseils sur le travail transactionnel complexe et des litiges à enjeux élevés. Spécialisés dans les domaines de la finance, des sciences de la vie, du capital-investissement, de l'immobilier et de la technologie, nous utilisons une approche collaborative et interdisciplinaire pour résoudre les problèmes les plus complexes de nos clients. Pour en savoir plus, contactez-nous.


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