Twenty-One Defendants Charged for Alleged Corruption at Two Southern California DMV Offices

May 3, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today that employees at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) in San Diego County were charged in a criminal complaint for their involvement in a long-running bribery conspiracy that resulted in the production of hundreds of fraudulent driver licenses for applicants who had failed—or not taken—the required driver license tests.

The complaint alleges that DMV officials at the El Cajon DMV office, located at 1450 Graves Avenue, El Cajon, California, and the Rancho San Diego DMV office, located at 1901 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, California, falsely entered both “passing” written and “passing” driving test scores for applicants in exchange for bribes ranging up to $3,000 per license.

In addition to the DMV employees, 16 other defendants were charged in the complaint. According to the charging documents, these 16 other defendants are applicants who paid bribes to receive fraudulent driver licenses, or recruiters who brokered the corrupt deals for fraudulent licenses by getting money from the applicants and paying the bribes to the DMV employees. According to court documents, the corruption scheme involved the fraudulent production of both Class C (regular) and Commercial Class A driver licenses. Hundreds of applicants paid recruiters approximately $400- $500 for each fraudulent Class C license, which the conspirators produced at the El Cajon DMV. The complaint alleges that the DMV employees named in the complaint accepted bribes paid by these applicants despite the obvious public safety risk posed. For example, one DMV employee admitted to a recruiter that an applicant taking a driving test was so dangerous that she was “gonna kill someone.” The DMV employee, however, provided a fraudulent license to the dangerous applicant in exchange for a bribe the recruiter because he “need[ed] cash.”

According to the complaint, applicants seeking Commercial Class A licenses, produced at the Rancho San Diego DMV, typically paid recruiters $2,500-$3,000. Commercial Class A driver licenses allow the licensee to drive commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds, which can cause enormous harm to the public if operated incorrectly by an unqualified driver. The complaint further alleges that DMV employees entered false passing test scores that allowed applicants to fraudulently obtain additional certifications for specific operations of the commercial vehicles, such as transporting hazardous materials or towing multiple trailers. The United States Attorney emphasized that these fraudulent certifications posed a significant threat to public safety, given that an unqualified driver could then transport hazardous materials or tow multiple trailers on the public roads.

For both Class C and Commercial Class A licenses, the recruiters told the applicants that, if they paid the fee, they would not have to take any of the required tests in order to receive a license. The complaint alleges that the recruiters made good on their claim as Jim Lynn Bean, Jeffrey Thomas Bednarek, Scott David Friedli, and Marco Beltran took advantage of their positions as DMV employees to enter fraudulent passing written and driving test scores into the DMV database. These DMV employees were responsible for conducting driving tests for driver license applicants, but by entering false information, circumvented the DMV’s driver license application process.

All 21 defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and to produce unauthorized identification documents, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In addition, defendants Bean, Bednarek, Friedli, and Beltran were charged with one count of bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B). The operator of the U.S. Driving School in El Cajon, Kuvan Adil Piomari, was charged with one count of bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2). The defendants taken into custody today are expected to make their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo on May 3, 2012.

United States Attorney Duffy commented that this criminal complaint and arrests are the result of an active, ongoing criminal investigation. If anyone in the community has information about corruption at the DMV, they are asked to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-877-NO-BRIBE (662-7423), or the DMV’s Investigations Branch-Office of Internal Affairs at 626-851-0173.

Criminal Case No. 12MJ1576
 

Defendants
Jim Lynn Bean Age: 33
Kuvan Adil Piromari Age: 42
Jeffrey Thomas Bednarek Age: 53
Scott David Friedli Age: 32
Marco Beltran Age: 41
Gabriela Villanueva Age: 30
Bashar Asaad Azaria Age: 34
Reenan Esa Kuza Age: 29
Usman Aliyev Age: 29
Abdulmajed Alhokair Age: 21
Ahmad Alarbeed Age: 20
Mohammed Alsuwaidi Age: 18
Ali Rashid Al-Sowaidi Age: 22
Khalid Abdulaziz Al-Sowaidi Age: 22
Talal Bass Almousharji Age: 19
Virginia Pena Age: 32
Yontar Gizem Age: 19
Douri Zafer Age: 43
Asiel Bahjat Tomika Age: 30
Angel Salvador Astimibay Age: 50
Bekzad Mirhanov Age: 31

Summary of Charges

Count 1: Title 18, United States Code, Section 371—Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and to Produce Unauthorized Identification Documents—statutory maximum sentence of five years’ custody, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment. All defendants.

Count 2: Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B)—Bribery—statutory maximum sentence of 10 years’ custody, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment. As to defendants: Jim Lynn Bean, Jeffrey Thomas Bednarek, Scott David Friedli, and Marco Beltran.

Count 3: Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2)—Bribery—statutory maximum sentence of 10 years’ custody, a maximum fine of $250,000, and $100 special assessment. As to defendant Kuvan Adil Piromari.

Investigating Agencies

Federal Bureau of Investigation
California Department of Motor Vehicles-Investigations Division

A complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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.


Bribes Without Jail Time

April 30, 2012

The New York Times on April 27, 2012 released the following:

“By JAMES B. STEWART

As reported in a front-page article in The New York Times this week, the Wal-Mart Mexican bribery scheme has all the makings of a gripping criminal prosecution: millions of dollars in illegal payoffs to Mexican government officials and evidence of a cover-up scheme that went all the way to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

And the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials by American executives, carries stiff penalties for those convicted: fines of up to $5 million and up to 20 years in prison.

So who’s likely to go to jail?

No one, if past precedent is any guide.

Exhibit A for any lawyer representing potential Wal-Mart defendants would probably be last year’s bribery case against the huge poultry, pork and beef producer Tyson Foods. Like Wal-Mart, Tyson employees bribed Mexican officials. When Tyson officials learned about the scheme, they covered it up. Even worse, they tried to keep the bribes going by changing the nature of the illegal payments. The scheme ultimately reached into Tyson’s executive suite in Springdale, Ark., with the company’s president of international operations and its chief administrative officer among those involved.

Last year, the Justice Department charged Tyson with conspiracy and with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Tyson didn’t contest the facts, agreed to resolve the charges with a deferred prosecution and paid a $4 million criminal penalty. The company paid an additional $1.2 million and settled related regulatory complaints that it had maintained false books and records and lacked the controls to prevent payments to phantom employees and government officials.

It’s axiomatic that people, not corporations, commit crimes. So what happened to the Tyson executives involved? Not only did the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission take no action against them, but the executives involved weren’t even named.

As I reported in a column last year, the highest-ranking Tyson executive involved was Greg Lee, then its chief administrative officer. Tyson announced in April 2007, the same month it disclosed its conduct to the government, that Mr. Lee would retire early. There was no mention of any bribery investigation. John Tyson, the company’s chairman, praised his “dedicated service to the company over the last three decades,” and the company paid Mr. Lee nearly $1 million and awarded him a 10-year consulting contract worth an additional $3.6 million. Mr. Lee was entitled to be reimbursed for his country club dues, to the use of a car and to “personal use of the company-owned aircraft for up to 100 hours per year,” according to his employment agreement. (Mr. Lee didn’t respond to my messages seeking comment.)

Wal-Mart’s Mexican bribery scandal, and the question of what to do about it, reached company headquarters in September 2005, according to the account by David Barstow of The Times. This was little more than a year after Tyson executives covered up their scandal. Given the subsequent outcome of the Tyson case, is it any wonder that Wal-Mart executives’ first reaction would have been to sweep the matter under the rug? Only after Mr. Barstow started asking questions did the company turn itself in to the Justice Department, no doubt hoping for something like the resolution its Arkansas neighbor received.

Neither the Justice Department nor the S.E.C. would comment on the Tyson case, now closed, or the continuing Wal-Mart investigation.

Both agencies have stepped up their investigations and prosecutions of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in recent years, and they now have units dedicated to foreign bribery cases. Last year, the S.E.C. brought cases against 14 companies and 12 people. Major companies caught up in recent bribery investigations include Johnson & Johnson, Halliburton and Siemens. Just this week, the former Morgan Stanley executive Garth Peterson pleaded guilty to violating the act while based in Shanghai. Morgan Stanley wasn’t charged, and it appears to have been a model corporate citizen. It fired Mr. Peterson and didn’t mince words. It turned over evidence to the government and disclosed the inquiry in an S.E.C. filing.

Despite this laudable effort, an outcome like that in the Tyson case — in which a company admits the facts and pays a fine but no individuals are charged — hardly seems isolated. According to research by Qi Chen, working with Prof. Andrew Spalding at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 37 of the 57 companies involved in bribery enforcement actions from 2005 to 2010 settled bribery accusations and had no related individuals charged.

One of the most vocal critics of the failure to charge individuals has been the former Republican-turned-Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, who held hearings on the issue in 2010 while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Criminal fines are added to the costs of doing business,” Mr. Specter said then. “Going to jail is what works to deter crime.”

This week he told me: “I’ve been speaking out on this issue everywhere I can. The Justice Department takes the view that deferred prosecutions are sufficient to deter bribery. But it obviously hasn’t worked. Maybe the Wal-Mart case will finally impel them to take a different view.”

That is not to say that no one has gone to jail for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Albert J. Stanley, former chairman and chief executive of KBR, the global contracting concern that was once a subsidiary of Halliburton, was sentenced in February to 30 months in prison for a scheme to bribe Nigerian authorities in return for contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities. Frederic Bourke, co-founder of the handbag maker Dooney & Bourke, was sentenced to one year and a day for his involvement in a scheme to bribe officials in Azerbaijan in a failed effort to take over the state-owned oil company. Last year, eight former executives of the German technology giant Siemens were charged with bribing Argentine officials in what the Justice Department characterized as “a stunning level of deception and corruption.” But the defendants live abroad and may never be successfully prosecuted in the United States.

I couldn’t find a case of an executive at a major American-based, publicly traded company who was successfully prosecuted and sent to jail. A majority of individual prosecutions appear to involve people of relatively limited means who are in smaller or privately held companies or who are officials in foreign companies based outside the United States, where there is little likelihood of a conviction. A typical case seems more like that of Gerald and Patricia Green, two Hollywood producers who were convicted of bribing the head of the Bangkok film festival. The couple was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of home confinement in 2010. At the time, Mr. Green was 83 years old and suffered from emphysema.

“It does appear that executives from U.S. public companies are not being pursued with the same vigor as individuals at private companies or who work on their own,” said Richard L. Cassin, founder of the firm CassinLaw and author of “Bribery Abroad” and “Bribery Everywhere.” “There are still a lot of enforcement actions against corporations where there are no indictments against individuals. The percentage of criminal cases against individuals is still very tiny.”

He suggests this may be partly because corporate executives, especially those with prominent lawyers whose fees are paid by their employers, are less likely to settle. And the Justice Department has suffered some embarrassing setbacks in a few recent litigated cases against individual defendants.

Asked for comment, the department provided this statement: “Prosecuting individuals who violate the law is an important part of our F.C.P.A. enforcement efforts. Since 2009, the Justice Department has secured convictions against 36 individuals for F.C.P.A.-related offenses. In all cases, we thoroughly review the facts and the law to determine whether criminal charges against individuals can be brought.”

An S.E.C. spokeswoman said: “We’re committed to holding individuals accountable. Where we have the evidence to bring cases against individuals, we do so, and we view that as a high priority.”

According to both the Justice Department and the commission, an important aspect of assessing a company’s cooperation is how it disciplines any executives found to be involved in a bribery scheme. Wal-Mart issued a statement this week saying: “We will not tolerate noncompliance with F.C.P.A. anywhere or at any level of the company. We are confident we are conducting a comprehensive investigation, and if violations of our policies occurred, we will take appropriate action.”

I asked Wal-Mart who, if anyone, involved in the bribery allegations had been disciplined, but I didn’t get a response. Eduardo Castro-Wright, who was described in The Times’s article as the driving force in the bribery conspiracy, is the former head of the company’s Mexican operations and remains at Wal-Mart, where he became vice chairman in 2008. Wal-Mart announced last September that Mr. Castro-Wright would retire on July 1, and he has since emphasized that his decision to retire had nothing to do with any bribery allegations.

In a send-off that echoes Tyson’s praise for Mr. Lee, Wal-Mart’s chief executive, Mike Duke, said: “Eduardo has made many contributions at Wal-Mart, beginning in Mexico and continuing until today. He has been a strong advocate for our customers and in every assignment has brought passion and commitment to the job.”

Mr. Castro-Wright isn’t a member of Wal-Mart’s board, but this week he resigned from the board of the insurer MetLife. “I now must focus my energy in spending personal time with my family and in protecting my good name,” he said, and confidently predicted that “these outside distractions will be resolved favorably within the next several months.”

But Wal-Mart may not turn out to be another Tyson. Professor Spalding told me “a lot has happened” since 2010, which is when he compiled the statistics on individual prosecutions. “The Department of Justice is making a strong push to hold individuals liable,” he said.

“Despite some recent embarrassing losses, the department must be looking for some high-profile prosecutions. Wal-Mart is about as high profile as you can get. This case could turn out to be a poster child for individual liability.””

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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.


List of Blagojevich convictions, maximum sentences

December 6, 2011

Chicago Tribune on December 5, 2011 released the following:

“The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge will sentence former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 18 counts of corruption this week. Jurors at his first trial last year deadlocked on all but one of 24 counts, convicting him only of lying to the FBI. At his retrial this year, jurors convicted him on 17 of 20 counts. Combined, the charges formally carry a maximum 305-year sentence, though he’s likely to get closer to 10 years.

The convictions and maximum sentences from the retrial are:

TEN COUNTS OF WIRE FRAUD, nearly all of which are related to the allegation Blagojevich tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

ONE COUNT OF ATTEMPTED EXTORTION related to an attempt to shake down the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital for a campaign contribution. Maximum penalty of 20 years.

ONE COUNT OF SOLICITING A BRIBE in the shakedown of the children’s hospital executive. Maximum penalty of 10 years.

ONE COUNT OF EXTORTION CONSPIRACY for conspiring with an aide to shake down a racetrack executive. Maximum penalty of 20 years.

ONE COUNT OF BRIBERY CONSPIRACY, related to shakedown of the racetrack executive. Maximum five-year sentence.

ONE COUNT OF EXTORTION CONSPIRACY, related to the Senate seat. Maximum penalty of 20 years.

ONE COUNT OF ATTEMPTED EXTORTION, related to the Senate seat. Maximum penalty of 20 years.

ONE COUNT OF BRIBERY CONSPIRACY, related to the Senate seat. Maximum of 5 years.

And from the first trial:

ONE COUNT OF FALSE STATEMENTS, for lying to federal investigators about his fundraising. Maximum of 5 years.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


Blagojevich Convicted on 17 of the 20 Public Corruption Charges

June 27, 2011
Rod Blagojevich

CNN on June 27, 2011 released the following:

“Chicago (CNN) — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Monday on 17 of the 20 public corruption charges against him.

The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count of bribery and was unable to reach verdicts on two counts of attempted extortion.

The charges against Blagojevich included trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president. Blagojevich has denied any intention of bribery.

Last August, after a two-month trial and 14 days of deliberation, jurors deadlocked on 23 of the 24 charges Blagojevich had faced. They found him guilty on one count of lying to FBI investigators, a conviction that could carry a prison sentence of five years.

The accusation that Blagojevich tried to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Obama, among other allegations, prompted his impeachment by Illinois’ House of Representatives and his removal from office by the state Senate in 2009.

Ten of the counts against him in the current trial are wire fraud. The other 10 involve extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Blagojevich, 54, was taken into federal custody in December 2008, less than two years into his second term as governor. A federal grand jury indicted in him April 2009.

At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said court-authorized wiretaps caught Blagojevich offering Obama’s Senate seat in exchange for personal gain, including a job with a non-profit or union organization, corporate board posts for his wife, campaign contributions or a post in Obama’s administration.

He expressed frustration, according to prosecutors, that Obama transition officials were “not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

“I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I’m not gonna do it,” prosecutors quoted Blagojevich as saying.

Blagojevich also considered appointing himself to the post, mulling whether he might be better off being indicted as a senator rather than governor, and saying contacts he would make in the federal job would benefit him later, according to prosecutors.

Aside from the charges of trying to sell the Senate seat, prosecutors also accused Blagojevich of using his position to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and his campaign in exchange for jobs, contracts and appointments to state boards to supporters.

They accused Blagojevich of acelerating the scheme in 2008 to accumulate funds before a new state ethics law would have limited his ability to raise money from people and companies that were doing business with the state.

Along with Blagojevich, prosecutors charged his brother, Robert Blagojevich, with one count of wire fraud, one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of attempted extortion and one count of bribery conspiracy in connection with his brother’s alleged Senate-seat-selling plan.

But a week after jurors came back deadlocked on most of the counts against Rod Blagojevich and all of the charges against his brother, prosecutors dropped charges against Robert Blagojevich but said they would retry the former governor.

Blagojevich’s defense argued that he just liked to talk and that he ended up with nothing. Attorney Aaron Goldstein said the “law is about intent,” CNN affiliate WLS has reported. Goldstein said the prosecution hadn’t met its burden of proof.

The former Cook County assistant prosecutor, state representative and Golden Gloves boxer has remained in the public eye since his removal from office, appearing in a Chicago comedy show, releasing an autobiography, and competing on the TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.””

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

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

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Blagojevich Jurors Have Reached Partial Verdict

June 27, 2011

The New York Times on June 27, 2011 released the following:

“CHICAGO — Jurors in the trial of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who is accused of trying to benefit personally from his selection of a replacement for the United States senate seat once held by President Obama, were expected to announce a verdict on Monday afternoon.

As they began a 10th day of deliberations on Monday morning, they told a federal court judge here that they had reached agreement on 18 of 20 criminal counts against Mr. Blagojevich, but were deadlocked on two others. An announcement of their verdict was expected after 1 p.m. Central.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat whose former aides say once saw himself as a presidential contender, was tried on charges of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery, extortion conspiracy and bribery conspiracy.

The trial was Mr. Blagojevich’s second on the charges. Nearly a year ago, another jury deadlocked on all but two of the counts against him.

This jury’s decision may end, at last, the spectacle of Mr. Blagojevich’s spiraling political career, which has played out here since shortly after Mr. Obama was elected president in November 2008.

A month after Election Day, Mr. Blagojevich, who under state law was responsible for picking a new senator to replace Mr. Obama so he could move to the White House, was arrested. Federal agents revealed that they had secretly recorded hundreds of hours of damaging phone calls by him and his advisers.

Mr. Blagojevich, 54, and a lawyer and former state and federal lawmaker, was accused of trying to secure campaign contributions, a cabinet post or a new, high-paying job in exchange for his official acts as governor — whether that was picking a new senator, supporting particular legislation or deciding how to spend state money. He has proclaimed his innocence again and again — on the witness stand, in television interviews and in a memoir he wrote.

The scandal reaffirmed an image Illinois (where corruption, by one university’s estimate, has cost taxpayers more than $300 million a year) has long wished to shed: If Mr. Blagojevich goes to prison, he will be the fourth governor in recent memory to be imprisoned (one of them for acts he committed after leaving office). It was a particularly dramatic fall for Mr. Blagojevich, who campaigned for governor on a reform agenda following a corruption scandal that undid his Republican predecessor, George Ryan, who remains in federal prison.

In Mr. Blagojevich’s earlier trial, he was convicted of a single charge: lying to the F.B.I. about how much he kept track of the details of his campaign’s fund-raising. That conviction carries up to five years in prison.

After the first trial, jurors said the case had been too tangled and too confusing, and it was clear that prosecutors took that message to heart. In the new trial, which began in April, prosecutors offered fewer, simpler charges, a notably boiled down message, and a emphasis on the thought that Mr. Blagojevich did not need to actually complete any deals to be found guilty of crimes for proposing them.

Prosecutors laid out five “schemes” in which they said Mr. Blagojevich tried to get campaign contributions in exchange for supporting racetrack legislation or road projects and pushed for a campaign fund-raiser in exchange for support of a school. But the crimes involved, the prosecutors told jurors again and again, could not have been simpler: Mr. Blagojevich sought personal benefit for public acts.

The stakes of this retrial were apparent. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (who may be better known nationally as having pursued the C.I.A. leak case against I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney) personally listened to parts of the case even though his assistants were trying it. He took notes on Mr. Blagojevich’s testimony from a room in the courthouse where courtroom proceedings were piped in for reporters and others to hear. James Matsumoto, a retired public television librarian who had served as the jury foreman in the first trial last summer, also attended portions of the case.

For his part at the trial, Mr. Blagojevich did what Mr. Blagojevich likes to do — talk. After offering no defense testimony at all in his first trial, Mr. Blagojevich testified before jurors for seven days, proclaiming his innocence and portraying his taped conversations about matters like who he might appoint to the senate as merely brainstorming, not some sinister plot.”

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

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

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