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Goldman Sachs shares fell sharply Monday following news that its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has hired a top Washington defense lawyer.

Blankfein and other top executives at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are facing inquiries from the Justice Department and other agencies on the firm's practices leading up to the financial crisis.

Goldman confirmed a report from Reuters that Blankfein has retained Reid Weingarten from the law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Weingarten is known to have represented top corporate executives who have been charged with wrongdoing including former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers.

Weingarten's office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Goldman Sachs said in a statement: "Blankfein and other individuals who were expected to be interviewed in connection with the Justice Department's inquiry into certain matters raised in the (Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) report hired counsel at the outset."

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