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Standard & Poor’s and an Awful Legal Defense

"After the U.S. Justice Department accused Standard & Poor’s of fraud earlier this year, the credit rater had a choice.

"It could make a courtroom argument that would torch its reputation, but might get the lawsuit thrown out.

"Or, if S&P’s executives decided the harm would be too great in the court of public opinion, they could tell the lawyers to use another approach, even if it might be less likely to succeed in getting the case tossed.