Financial Crisis

Feds Plan Lawsuit Against S&P over Mortgage Ratings

Company says it responded the best it could to financial situation

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Credit rater Standard & Poor's announced Monday that the Justice Department plans to file civil charges against it for its rating of mortgage-backed financial products leading up to the financial crisis.

In a statement, S&P acknowledged that it missed the mark in many of its ratings before the crisis, but said such a suit would be "entirely without factual or legal merit."

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the federal enforcement action, the first of its kind against a credit rater for actions tied to the meltdown, could come as soon as this week. The civil charges would come after the Justice Department and S&P failed to strike a deal in long-running settlement talks.

Several state attorneys general are expected to join the case.