Ohio man acquitted on federal gun charge

October 23, 2012

The Herald-Dispatch on October 23, 2012 released the following:

“CURTIS JOHNSON
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — A federal jury has acquitted a Columbus, Ohio, man on an allegation that he illegally possessed a firearm.

The jury disagreed with federal prosecutors, who argued Deshawn King had possession of a .357 caliber pistol, even though authorities found the weapon in a woman’s apartment at a time when King was outside of the residence.

Jurors returned their verdict Friday after two and half hours of deliberation. The case had stemmed from a June 20 incident in the 900 block of 11th Avenue.

King had been prohibited from possessing any firearm due to a May 30, 2002, conviction for aggravated robbery in Franklin County, Ohio.

Defense attorney R. Lee Booten and his client were relieved by the jury’s verdict. The attorney described the case as complicated. It was never a matter of King having the gun in his hands, pocket or personal residence, but instead it being stored inside someone else’s apartment that he had access to.

Booten praised U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers for his use of prior case law to fairly instruct the jury as to the complexities of the case.

A criminal complaint, filed at the beginning of the case, alleged that King admitted to having purchased the pistol in Columbus. Booten said that statement was part of the prosecution’s case, however he argued King made up that story as he went along.

Prior to last week’s trial, federal prosecutors had dismissed another count of the indictment. It alleged King had possessed a ,22 caliber pistol, a .45 caliber pistol and a 9 mm pistol Dec. 9, 2011, in Huntington. That dismissal was upon Chambers deciding some of King’s statements to police were inadmissible at trial, according to court documents.

Despite Friday’s acquittal, King remained in custody Monday morning at the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Ky.

The continued incarceration stems from a probation revocation in the state of Ohio. It involves allegations that King left Ohio without permission to stay with a woman at her 11th Avenue residence in Huntington, Booten said.

Friday’s result marks the second not-guilty verdict in a federal firearms case since August for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Huntington. The first verdict followed defense arguments indicating that defendant, also a prior felon, had possessed his weapon in self-defense.

Booten placed no significance in the two acquittals, instead saying both were the result of rare, atypical and complex firearms cases.

The greatest majority of felon-in-possession cases end with a guilty verdict as defendants typically come to an agreement with prosecutors to avoid trial.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


3 convicted, 6 acquitted in sex trafficking case

May 4, 2012

Fox News on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee federal jury split its verdict Friday against nine people accused of operating a sex trafficking ring across three states run mostly by Somali refugee gang members, convicting three men and acquitting six.

The defendants are among 30 who were indicted in the case that spans from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee. The jury of six men and six women deliberated over five days this week before returning the verdict. The other defendants were severed from the trial and could face trial at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent said the verdict shows that the jury found that sex trafficking did occur and the government won’t cease prosecuting these cases.

“It’s very important for victims to understand that you can come forward, people will listen and that people can believe what you have to say about the crime,” Vincent said.

A Somali witness identified only as Jane Doe No. 2 testified that she was used as a prostitute by gang members starting at the age of 12. She cried in court as she described being taken to several apartments in around suburban Minneapolis to have sex with other Somali men for money, sometimes as little as $40.

Idris Ibrahim Fahra, Andrew Kayachith and Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf were found guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion. The three men were also charged with child sex trafficking and attempted child sex trafficking, but only Fahra was convicted on one additional count of child sex trafficking.

Fahra faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for the child sex trafficking conviction up to life in prison, and Kayachitch and Yusuf face possible maximum sentences of up to life. No sentencing date has been set.

According to the prosecutors, Idris Fahra, who went by the nickname “Chi Town,” had an apartment in St. Paul in 2006 that was used for trafficking of Jane Doe No. 2, who was in the 7th grade at the time, and he would also get to have sex with her for free because he was a member of the gang.

Jane Doe No. 2 also described being taken to Nashville in April 2009 for the purpose of sexual trafficking. Andrew Kayachitch, who went by the nickname “AK,” and Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf, who went by the nickname “Junior,” were detained in Nashville by police along with Jane Doe No. 2.

Defense attorneys repeatedly questioned whether Jane Doe No. 2 was a juvenile at the time the sex acts occurred because prosecutors revealed on the eve of trial that her birth certificate was falsified. But Vincent said the jury determined she was under the age of 18.

Attorney David Komisar, attorney for Yusuf, said his client was disappointed by the verdict and he plans to fight the conviction.

“He maintains his innocence and we don’t think that there was proof that Jane Doe No. 2 was underage in April of 2009,” he said following the verdict.

Carol Owen, the attorney who represented Jane Doe No. 2 and her family, said the three individuals who were convicted were directly involved with the trafficking that Jane Doe No. 2 described on the stand.

Owen called her client courageous for taking the stand for five days to testify about very intimate details of the sexual acts in front of a courtroom full of Somalis and said Jane Doe No. 2’s parents remain supportive of her. Defense attorneys had claimed she willingly had sex with multiple defendants and lied about it so her conservative Somali family could save face.

“She testified in order to tell the truth and bring justice to people who should be prosecuted,” she said. “The justice system gave her her day.”

Owen said Jane Doe No. 2 hopes to be an advocate for other sex trafficking victims and hopes that by taking the stand, other victims will come forward.

Six of the nine defendants are of Somali descent. Two others were natives of Ethiopia. Kayachith was born in the U.S. and is of Laotian descent.

Jennifer Thompson, defense attorney for defendant Fahra, said in closing statements last week that Jane Doe No. 2 was a runaway who manipulated people around her and was fed information from a St. Paul, Minn., police investigator.

Thompson did not immediately return a call seeking comment about her client.

Another witness, who was identified in court as Jane Doe No. 5, testified that she saw young women and girls being used as prostitutes in a Nashville apartment. She testified that she was being used to have sex with men in Minnesota when she was around 15 or 16 years old. But the jury did not convict anyone on counts related to her testimony.

Luke Evans, an attorney for the acquitted defendant Fadumo Mohamed Farah, said Jane Doe No. 5 was mentally ill and not taking her medication when she testified. He argued that she suffers from paranoid delusions and can’t tell fiction from fact.

The original indictment that was unsealed in 2010 claims the ring involved three Minneapolis-based gangs — the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws — and that all three gangs are connected. The men and women charged were either gang members or associates of the gangs that operated in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville.

The other men acquitted Friday are Ahmad Abnulnasir Ahmad, Musse Ahmed Ali, Fatah Haji Hashi, Dahir Nor Ibrahim and Mohamed Ahmed Amalle.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Militia members acquitted of plotting to overthrow government

March 28, 2012

Los Angeles Times on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“A federal judge’s ruling disparages the government case against seven members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan. Two of the defendants still face lesser charges.

By Times Wire Services

DETROIT — In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge Tuesday acquitted seven members of a Michigan militia of plotting to overthrow the U.S. government with weapons of mass destruction — crimes that could have landed them in prison for life.

The ruling is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted a paid informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia four years ago and contended that members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan. Nine members were arrested in 2010. One previously pleaded guilty, and one was found incompetent to stand trial.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said federal prosecutors, who rested their case last week, failed in five weeks of trial to prove that the Hutaree had a specific plan to kill a police officer and attack law enforcement personnel who showed up for the funeral.

Although testimony showed that Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. “may have wanted to engage in a war with the federal government … it is totally devoid of any agreement to do so between Stone and the other defendants,” Roberts wrote in a 28-page decision.

“This plan is utterly short on specifics,” the judge said, adding that “it is a stretch to infer that other members of the Hutaree knew of this plan, and agreed to further it.”

Defense lawyers say highly offensive remarks about police and the government were wrongly turned into a high-profile criminal case that drew public praise from U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who called the Hutaree a “dangerous organization.”

Roberts’ decision leaves federal prosecutors with what legal experts described as a “run of the mill” illegal firearms case against Stone, 47, and his son Joshua Stone, 24. They still face charges of possession of a machine gun and an unregistered firearm, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The judge acquitted the five other defendants, including another son, David Stone Jr.

All defendants were acquitted of the most serious charges: seditious conspiracy, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The judge also acquitted them of five lesser counts.

Attorney William Swor, who is representing Stone Sr. and visited him in the Wayne County Jail, said his client was grateful.

“He was quiet. He thanked God. He thanked the defense attorneys,” Swor told the Detroit Free Press. “And he shed a tear.”

Legal experts said prosecutors can’t appeal Roberts’ decision, which is equivalent to a jury’s acquittal.

“She stepped in and took the role of a jury,” said Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s as if the jury acquitted them, and there can be no appeal of a jury acquittal.”

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment, pending the outcome of the trial against the remaining two defendants. The trial resumes Thursday.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


‘Botched’ Federal Criminal Indictment Ends in Acquittal

March 21, 2012

The Gainesville Sun March 20, 2012 released the following:

“‘Botched’ indictment ends in local firm’s acquittal

By Jason Geary and Anthony Clark
The Gainesville Sun

A Gainesville-based construction company and its vice president were acquitted on federal charges of bribing a Polk County school official in Tampa on Monday because the grand jury indictment mistakenly referred to the Polk County government and not the Polk County School District.

M.M. Parrish Construction Co. and its vice president, Lloyd Whann, were on trial in Tampa’s federal courthouse for two weeks on charges of bribing Bob Williams, former assistant superintendent of facilities for the Polk County School Board.

Prosecutors accused the company of gaining a competitive edge by bribing Williams with posh hunting and fishing trips, expensive bathroom renovations on Williams’ home and a $2,000 shotgun.

The Gainesville-based company has received more than $100 million worth of work from the Polk County School Board, nearly four times as much work as its nearest competitor.

The defense argued the company got work based on its reputation for high-quality work and had no intent to influence Williams with gifts.

“Witnesses testified one after the other that there was not a better construction company in the state to show they got the work they got because they are the best. That’s the only reason they got it,” said Henry M. Coxe III, the company’s attorney.

Williams still faces punishment because he accepted a plea deal last year. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Whann’s attorney, Larry Turner of Gainesville, said the acquittal was about more than poor verbiage in the indictment. The case was in federal court because the indictment said Polk County received federal funding, but Williams worked for the Polk County School District, a separate government agency. That meant the evidence presented was insufficient, he said.

Turner said there were other problems with the way the indictment was drafted.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara said he has never seen a “botched situation” like this in his 14 years on the federal bench.

Lazzara told Michael Walsh, the company’s president, and Whann that they were not guilty of the charges and were free to leave.

The sudden ending brought both men to tears, and they embraced their lawyers, family and friends.

“I just had to thank God, that’s all I could think was thank you God for bringing us through this,” Walsh told The Sun on Tuesday. “We just appreciate all the love and support that we received from friends and customers and people from all over throughout the whole process.”

While M.M. Parrish Construction and the local real estate firm Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors were founded locally by the Parrish family, the construction company was sold in the early 1980s.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Judge acquits 4 in Florida insurance fraud case

February 18, 2012

The Miami Herald on February 16, 2012 released the following:

“THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge has acquitted four former Vanguard Fire and Casualty Co. insurance company executives on charges of defrauding $20 million from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

A court clerk on Thursday confirmed that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ordered the verdict Tuesday night in Tallahassee.

Stephen Dobson, a lawyer for one of the former Vanguard executives, says Hinkle ruled there couldn’t be any fraud because the defendants told hurricane fund officials what they were doing and why they were doing it.

The charges stemmed from claims during the 2004 hurricane season.

The defendants included William Sanders, former president of the now-defunct Maitland-based company, and former CEO Thomas Stinson.

The others are Richard Magsam and John Henry Axley III. All have gone on to new jobs in the insurance industry.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.