WASHINGTON (AP) - The government's takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac means taxpayers could be on the hook for more than just bad debts.
They could also end up paying tens of millions of dollars in legal fees for the executives at the center of the housing market's collapse.
The Justice Department is investigating companies involved in the mortgage and financial meltdown, and like many large companies, Fannie and Freddie have contracts promising to cover legal bills for their executives.
That means it's possible the government will be paying lawyers to defend executives against the government's own prosecutors. The Bush administration is working to avoid it, but that could spawn another court battle.