Samy Khalil

Samy has over 15 years of experience handling investigations, trials, and appeals in all areas of federal criminal law. As a former Assistant Federal Public Defender, Samy knows what it means to represent the interests of those accused or under investigation for a crime. His cases have included grand jury investigations; insider trading; bankruptcy and mortgage fraud; tax and health care fraud; money laundering; false statements; domestic and foreign bribery; immigration; import-export sanctions; and mail and wire fraud. He also conducts corporate and internal investigations and handles select civil litigation, including False Claims Act cases.

Samy has first-chaired numerous federal trials and argued multiple appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” and in “Best Lawyers in America” for White-Collar Criminal Defense. Samy is recognized in “Chambers & Partners” as an Up and Coming Leading Individual for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations – Texas (2017-2018). He is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association; a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation; chair in 2018-2019 of the Criminal Law Section of the Houston Bar Association; a Board Member of the Texas Defender Service; and in 2017 was appointed by Chief Judge Lee Rosenthal to chair the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel in the Southern District of Texas.


JD, 2002 (Member, Texas Law Review)

MA, International Relations, with honors, 1999

BA, Political Science, with honors, 1996

Prior Associations




Southern District of Texas, 2003-2010


Representative Matters

  • Successful defense of a businessman in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation by DOJ concerning transactions in the Middle East.
  • In 2015/2016, Samy helped to win the dismissal of “manslaughter” charges arising from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill – partly on arguments that the “manslaughter” statute in question did not apply “extraterritorially,” that is, not on a rig located in international waters, 50 miles offshore.
  • Defense of an Iranian businessman indicted under the US-Iran sanctions who received a Presidential Pardon in the 2016 “prisoner swap” over the “Iran nuclear deal.”
  • In 2016, Samy won a rare dismissal of all charges in an indictment alleging “money laundering” concerning sales of perfume to Mexico. The federal court found a statute-of-limitations violation.
  • In SEC civil action, successful defense of Noble oil-drilling executive charged with violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act in Nigeria.
  • In federal civil case, successful defense of KBR employees accused of major crimes at military-contractor base in Iraq.
  • Defense of the “IFCO” immigration-hiring case, resulting in the DOJ‘s dismissal of all felony charges against the company‘s Vice President for Human Resources.
  • Federal acquittal at trial of charge alleging assault of a flight attendant.
  • Representation of major US companies in civil and criminal investigations by the Texas Attorney General‘s Office. One criminal investigation alleged bribery of state officials to secure a lucrative construction contract—no charges were brought. A civil case involved “consumer fraud” allegations by a major retailer of home goods.
  • Successful representation of individuals and businesses in white-collar investigations by the Harris County District Attorney‘s Office, including environmental and commercial bribery cases.
  • Civil DOJ investigation involving the hiring of “H2B” visa workers from Mexico.
  • Representation of pharmacist in False Claims Act case in the Western District of Texas.
  • Representation of healthcare executives and compounding pharmacies under investigation by DOJ and other federal agencies.
  • Internal investigation of federal employment-discrimination claims on behalf of national home-improvement company accused of violations by the EEOC.
  • Dismissal of numerous federal criminal cases after filing “motions to suppress” evidence.
  • Clemency petition on behalf of federal defendant who received 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. In 2016, the President of the United States granted clemency, and the sentence expired after completion of a one-year residential drug treatment program.
  • Federal and state habeas appeal of Texas death-penalty case—Samy has uncovered hidden evidence and is litigating for a new trial. Read more about this case in the Houston Chronicle (October 3, 2018; April 2, 2012) and the New York Times.
  • Won “compassionate release” from federal prison for inmate after BOP neglected his medical care.  Read more about this here.

Publications & Awards

  • Recognized as a leading practitioner in “Best Lawyers in America” (Woodward White, Inc.) for White-Collar Criminal Defense (2016-2020)
  • Selected as a “Super Lawyer” (2017-2019) and a “Rising Star” (2013-2014) in White-Collar Criminal Defense, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters)
  • Samy has given presentations on white-collar crime, particular federal offenses, and various aspects of federal sentencing. In 2016, he presented on the DOJ‘s “Yates Memo” at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers‘ “White-Collar Conference”
  • Samy has published “Doing the Impossible: Appellate Reweighing of Harm and Mitigation in Capital Cases After Williams v. Taylor, With a Special Focus on Texas,” Texas Law Review (2001)