Terrorism Federal Criminal Trial is Underway in Riverside Federal Court

August 19, 2014

Los Angeles Times on August 18, 2014 released the following:

Terrorism trial underway for men accused of trying to join Al Qaeda

By MATT HANSEN

The trial of two Inland Empire men accused of being involved in a terrorist plot resumes in Riverside federal court this week, as jurors weigh whether the defendants’ alleged plans to travel overseas and join Al Qaeda posed a true threat or were overstated by investigators.

Sohiel Omar Kabir, 36, of Pomona and Ralph Kenneth Deleon, 25, of Ontario face five counts of conspiracy, including plans to provide support to overseas terrorist groups, commit terrorist acts overseas and receive Al Qaeda training.

Prosecutors allege that Kabir, a naturalized American citizen who was born in Afghanistan, persuaded Deleon, a Filipino citizen and legal resident of the United States, and two other men to travel to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban and later join Al Qaeda.

The other men, Miguel Alejandro Santana, 23, of Upland and Arifeen David Gojali, 23, of Riverside, are scheduled to testify against the remaining two defendants, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Deleon, Santana and Gojali were arrested in November 2012 as they prepared to leave California to rendezvous with Kabir, who had relocated to Afghanistan. Kabir was seized by American soldiers in Afghanistan and returned to the United States to face charges.

The men’s purported plot was documented by a confidential informant who became close with the men and recorded audio and video of them as they spoke openly of their plans to join terrorist organizations overseas, according to the prosecution’s trial memorandum, which lays out its plans for the case.

Prosecutors also allege that the men began exercise regimens, visited firing ranges and renewed their passports in preparation for traveling to Afghanistan. Deleon dropped out of college and sold his car to raise money for the trip, prosecutors say.

“Kabir told Deleon and Santana that he made contacts in Afghanistan and that upon their arrival the three men would join the ‘Students,’ referring to the Taliban, before joining the ‘professors,’ referring to Al-Qa’ida,” the trial memo states.

Defense attorneys argue that overzealous federal authorities misinterpreted the men’s sometimes immature actions as true threats, and said their clients never intended to actually join or assist terrorist groups.

“This was a very carefully planned out plot by the government from the investigation stage onwards,” said David Thomas, who represents Deleon. “It was a manufactured prosecution, is our argument. They had their target two years ago and executed.”

On Friday, the second day of testimony, witnesses included a firearms range manager and a Customs and Border Protection inspector who testified about the men’s actions before their arrest.

Nolan Avery, a manager at LAX Firing Range in Inglewood, testified that Deleon, Santana and a third man, whom defense attorneys identified in court as the confidential informant, visited the range in September 2012 and shot an AR-15 rifle and a Glock 17 pistol.

Avery said he remembered the men because they seemed unenthusiastic and had traveled from the Inland Empire to go to the range, passing other shooting ranges closer to home.

“Usually there is a sense of camaraderie in groups,” he said. “This was kind of weird because they separated right away.”

Later testimony placed Gojali picking up a passport in Los Angeles in November 2012, and Santana returning to the U.S. after a visit to Mexico with his grandmother in January 2012.

A Border Patrol agent testified that Santana crossed into the U.S. carrying anti-American propaganda, including literature from radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki and a copy of the jihadist magazine Inspire. Defense attorneys argued that Santana was also carrying unrelated books that explored conspiracy theories and the occult.

A recurring topic during testimony was the role of the government’s informant. After the prosecution showed video from a hidden camera reportedly taken by the informant of Deleon firing weapons at the range, defense attorneys challenged the evidence, saying that only the informant could verify the authenticity of the video. The defense has subpoenaed the informant to appear.

Although U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips determined that the video evidence was admissible, the confidential informant remains a sticking point in the case.

The Los Angeles branch of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy organization, has called for the public to share any additional details they may know about the informant.

The organization alleges that the frequent federal use of informants in terrorism cases can lead to entrapment of suspects.

“We’ve seen other communities targeted by the FBI with informants sent into communities and mosques,” said Fatima Dadabhoy, senior civil rights lawyer for CAIR in Los Angeles. “I think what’s important about not just this case but this issue in general is to make sure that when we are doing terrorism cases, we’re not using improper tactics.”

The trial is set to resume Tuesday.”

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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.


“Attorneys make opening statements in Somali piracy, murder trial in federal court in Virginia”

June 7, 2013

The Washington Post on June 6, 2013 released the following:

By Associated Press

“NORFOLK, Va. — Defense attorneys for three Somalis charged with murdering four American yachters in a pirate hijacking said Thursday there’s no physical evidence proving their clients fired the shots that killed the Americans during a moment of chaos as U.S. Navy warships and special forces circled nearby off the coast of Africa.

The attorneys also suggested during opening statements in federal court that the other 11 men who have already pleaded guilty to piracy in the case have a vested interest in testifying against their clients, noting that they agreed to testify in exchange for the possibility of a reduced sentence. The 11 are currently serving mandatory life sentences.

The yacht’s owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death in February 2011 after they were taken hostage at sea several hundred miles south of Oman. They were the first Americans to be killed during a wave of pirate attacks that have plagued the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean in recent years, despite an international flotilla of warships that regularly patrol the area.

The men who have pleaded guilty in the case have said they intended to take the Americans back to Somalia and hold them for ransom. Their plan fell apart after U.S. Navy warships began shadowing the Quest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Samuels said that after the Navy established contact with the Quest, the 19 men who boarded the American yacht split into two factions. One group wanted to accept the Navy’s offer to release the Americans and be allowed to return to Somalia with the Quest. The other faction repeatedly threatened to kill the Americans if they weren’t allowed to proceed to Somalia with them.

Samuels said the three men charged in the murders — Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar — fell into the more aggressive camp.

What triggered the killings is unclear, but prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on the general timeline. They said one of the men aboard the pirated yacht fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer that had been maneuvering between the yacht and the Somali coast. Meanwhile, small boats of Navy SEALs were in the water and a U.S. Navy helicopter with a sniper on board was also hovering overhead.

Almost immediately after the RPG was fired, shots rang out aboard the yacht. Each of the Americans was shot numerous times. Scott Adam survived the initial gunfire only to be approached by pirates a second time minutes later and shot again. Two pirates were also killed in a hail of gunfire at the time.

However, defense attorney Larry Dash said it was U.S. Navy snipers that fired the first shots. That contradicts prosecutors’ account. Samuels said the Sterett’s commanding officer had previously given an order not to return fire if fired upon.

Samuels said the Navy fired no shots until a team of SEALs boarded the yacht 10 minutes later, shooting one pirate dead. Another pirate who pretended to be injured fought with a SEAL and was stabbed to death. The Americans were flown aboard the USS Enterprise to be treated for their wounds, but medical personnel were unable to save them.

Prosecutors said they will show video taken by the Navy in the moments before and after the shootings took place. Some of the video shows who was standing where as the shots rang out.

Numerous Navy personnel are expected to testify, along with as dozens of FBI and NCIS agents, including some who specialize in ballistic and forensic evidence. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Despite all the witnesses, DNA samples and ballistic experts, Dash said there is no physical evidence proving his client fired the fatal shot. Samuels noted that some DNA evidence wasn’t available because of exposure to weather during the two days that the Quest was towed to Djibouti following the shootings.

That distinction could help determine whether the men face the death penalty. In all, In all, 22 of the 26 counts against the defendants are death-eligible offenses. Jury selection took more than two days, in part, because of questions about jurors’ views of the death penalty. Piracy carries a mandatory life sentence.

Executions under federal law are rare. Only three out of more than 1,300 executions in the U.S. since 1976 have been carried out by the federal government, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks death penalty statistics and is opposed to the death penalty

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the decision to seek the death penalty. Ultimately, the U.S. is trying to send a message to would-be pirates: Stay away from U.S.-flagged vessels”

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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 – Appeal

————————————————————–

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.


Dozens of ‘innocent’ prisoners could be freed

August 14, 2012

USA Today on August 13, 2012 released the following:

“By Brad Heath

Dozens of federal prisoners who are locked up even though prosecutors concede they are “legally innocent” could soon be released under new orders from the U.S. Justice Department.

The department confirmed Monday that it had instructed its lawyers to abandon legal objections that could have blocked — or at least delayed — the inmates from being set free. In a court filing , the department said it had “reconsidered its position,” and that it would drop its legal arguments “in the interests of justice.”

The shift follows a USA TODAY investigation in June that identified more than 60 people who were imprisoned for something an appeals court later determined was not a federal crime. The investigation found that the Justice Department had done almost nothing to identify those prisoners — many of whom did not know they were innocent — and had argued in court that the men were innocent but should remain imprisoned anyway.

Neither Justice Department lawyers nor defense attorneys would speculate Monday how many innocent prisoners eventually might be released. Some who were convicted of other crimes might receive shorter sentences; others might be tried for different offenses.

Chris Brook, the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, called the move “an encouraging first step,” but said “much more has to be done for these wrongly incarcerated individuals.” He said the department still had not offered to identify prisoners who were sent to prison for something that turned out not to be a federal crime.

Federal law bans people from having a gun if they have previously been convicted of a crime that could have put them in prison for more than a year. In North Carolina, however, state law set the maximum punishment for a crime based in part on the criminal record of whoever committed it, meaning some people who committed crimes such as possessing cocaine faced sentences of more than a year, while those with shorter records face only a few months.

For years, federal courts there said that didn’t matter. If someone with a long record could have gone to prison for more than a year, then all who had committed that crime are felons and cannot legally have a gun, the courts maintained. But last year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said judges had been getting the law wrong: Only people who could have faced more than a year in prison for their crimes qualify as felons. Its decision meant thousands of low-level offenders are not committing a federal crime by having a gun.

In many cases, prosecutors did not dispute that prisoners convicted of gun possession before that decision were innocent, but argued that they should remain locked up because of strict laws that limit when and how inmates can challenge their convictions. The department’s new instructions directed prosecutors to drop those arguments.

Justice spokeswoman Adora Andy said the department had “decided to take a litigating position designed to accelerate relief for defendants in these cases who, by virtue of a subsequent court decision, are no longer guilty of a federal crime.” She declined to elaborate on the details of the department’s instruction. In at least one case on Monday, the government asked a court to set aside a defendant’s gun possession conviction.

The shift was met with cautious praise Monday from defense lawyers scrambling to file challenges based on the court’s ruling. Eric Placke, an assistant federal public defender in Greensboro, N.C., said it was “an appropriate response, a fair response, by allowing things to be handled on the merits rather than based just on procedural defenses.”

One of those prisoners, Travis Bowman, said in an e-mail that he was hoping for “another chance at life” if his gun possession conviction is overturned. Bowman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm; he was arrested after a high-speed police chase through rural Murphy, N.C. Under the appeals court’s ruling, his prior convictions weren’t serious enough to make having a gun a crime.

Bowman said he didn’t know he was innocent until USA TODAY contacted him earlier this year. He later asked a federal judge in North Carolina to release him. “If that happens, I got so much stuff I wanna do with my life,” he said.

Many of the practical effects of the Justice Department’s new instructions remained unclear on Monday.

The legal issue underlying the gun possession cases could also have implications for many other federal inmates. That’s because a person’s felony record plays a key role in deciding how long a prison sentence he will receive when he’s convicted of a federal crime. Hundreds of inmates have already gone to court arguing their prison sentences are too long because at least one of their prior convictions no longer qualifies as a felony under the appeals court’s decision.

The ACLU, which last week asked Justice officials to do more to help the inmates, estimated last week that as many as 3,000 people could be eligible to either be released or have their sentences reduced. because of the 4th Circuit’s decision. The department did not say on Monday whether it would also drop its legal objections in those cases.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Prosecutors rest fraud case against alleged Indy financier

June 19, 2012

The Herald Bulletin on June 19, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday against a prominent Indianapolis businessman who they say bilked investors out of $200 million, much of it life savings.

For the past week, prosecutors have presented evidence against Tim Durham, business partner James F. Cochran and accountant Rick D. Snow. The men are accused of raiding the Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. and allegedly used a Ponzi scheme to steal the savings from about 5,000 mostly elderly investors. They are charged with 12 felony counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

One of them, Donald Russell of Doylestown, Ohio, testified that he lost $350,000, and his 82-year-old mother lost $125,000 and died a month later. He said he believes the stress of losing her life savings pushed her over the edge.

“They have no hearts or souls,” Russell said of Durham and his partners.

Defense attorney John Tompkins said Durham is innocent, but told The Indianapolis Star that he feels sorry for Russell.

“I don’t think that there are any words that could begin to address the situation that he faces,” Tompkins said. “He had a horrible circumstance, and words cannot console him.”

Prosecutors presented analyses of forensic accountants that showed money from Fair Finance being used to help pay for an expensive Playboy party, Durham’s classic cars and trips to luxury resorts and casinos.

Donald Fair, who sold his company to Durham and Cochran in 2002, testified that the men loaned investors’ money to themselves and their businesses and never repaid it.

Prosecutors played recorded phone calls in which Durham and Cochran allegedly made up excuses to give investors about why their interest checks had stopped and they couldn’t cash in. The men tried to persuade Ohio regulators to allow them to sell another $250 million in investment certificates, prosecutors said, and took cash deposits from investors to whom they promised to issue more investment certificates later.

Cochran doubted regulators would shut down the company, according to recordings played in court.

“If they’re gonna blow us up, we’re gonna blow them up,” Cochran allegedly said in a phone call with Durham on Nov. 13, 2009. “I mean nobody wins and everybody loses, but we lose the worst. … I mean it would be a catastrophic event in the state of Ohio. And I’m sure they don’t want that kind of headline.”

Prosecutors presented emails and recordings in which the men discussed layoffs, selling off assets and other ways to cut costs or conceal the loans, yet Cochran also asked to raise his salary to $1 million a year.

In the weeks before an FBI raid shut down Fair Finance in November 2009, prosecutors said Monday, Durham and his partners transferred $85 million from the parent company, DC Investments, to Fair’s books to show more assets on the company’s balance sheet, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Defense attorneys are expected to present their case Tuesday morning, and closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday.

Attorneys for Cochran and Snow have declined to talk about the trial, and Tompkins refused to discuss his defense strategy. He said he didn’t know if Durham would testify in his own defense.

“That will be his decision, but I will advise him,” Tompkins said. “We haven’t had our discussion.””

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Arguments conclude in Roger Clemens perjury trial

June 13, 2012

CNN on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Dueling scientists, a former trainer, friends and family are among the witnesses whose testimony a jury will consider as they decide if famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens lied to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.

The case against Clemens involves one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He is not charged with illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs, but his denial of such use is part of the case against him.

Federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in closing arguments Tuesday, told the jury Clemens “wanted to protect his brand, he wanted to protect his livelihood,” in denying the use of steroids during a 2008 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into the problem.

“He did that at the expense of our Congress. He threw sand in their eyes. He stole the truth from them,” Saleski said.

She said a guilty verdict would give that truth back to lawmakers.

The Clemens defense team disputed whether the government has made its case, telling the jury all the evidence came through a former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who had incentive to lie.

“You saw Brian McNamee, the only witness in the history of the world who says he gave or saw an injection of that man,” said defense attorney Michael Attanasio. “One person in the entire world.” During closing arguments, the defense cited the lack of corroborating witnesses, which they said would be a basis for reasonable doubt against any conviction.

“McNamee defines reasonable doubt,” Attanasio said, because of perceived inconsistencies, retractions and corrections he made while testifying.

After verbally providing instructions to the jury late Tuesday, U.S. District judge Reggie Walton sent the jury back to begin deliberations, while acknowledging they may only have time to select a foreperson before letting them go for the day.

The trial has run longer than envisioned, and one juror was moved to alternate status Tuesday because of a fellowship in Germany for which he must depart next week. An alternate was then sent back to join the others.

It took about eight weeks for the prosecution and defense to question 46 witnesses, and the most direct conflict came among expert witnesses as to how to interpret a collection of discarded medical items that allegedly link Clemens to steroid use.

Soiled medical wrappings, cotton balls, drug vials and hypodermic needles that McNamee kept were interpreted differently by both sides. Witnesses for the government said genetic material linked with Clemens suggested it was impossible for McNamee to fabricate the evidence.

But defense witnesses on the same topic said storage in a beer can for years allowed commingling and contamination of materials, making reliable conclusions impossible, and the evidence nearly worthless.

“If you have garbage at the start, you’ll have garbage at the end,” said defense expert witness Dr. Bruce Goldberger, who said his lab would refuse to test such materials without a solid basis for their storage and handling before analysis.

Prosecution witness Dr. Cynthia Morris-Kukoski, an FBI toxicologist, said it is not up to the toxicology lab to make judgments about the materials submitted for testing, with their job only to determine the substances and any genetic identifiers involved.

Former teammate and friend Mike Boddicker testified as to whether Clemens had ever accepted injections, providing an eyewitness account that he had. “I think it was either 1989 or 1990,” Boddicker said, referring to their time together with the Boston Red Sox, describing that he “came into the training room, and saw Roger bent over the table with his pants down, getting a shot.”

The vial, Boddicker said, was clearly marked “B-12” a substance said to provide a pick-me-up after a game or workout.

This is the second trial for Clemens. A year ago, a mistrial was declared before the case reached the jury. The government’s lawyers played video evidence the judge had already banned. Prosecutors said it was an editing mistake, but the Clemens defense team suggested prosecutors were unprepared and had gotten off to a bad start.

“This was a mistake, a regretful mistake,” government attorney David Goodhand said in September in arguing for a new trial. But Walton blasted prosecutors for letting inadmissible evidence be shown.

“I would hate to believe they just blatantly disregarded rulings that I made, but it’s hard for me to reach any other conclusion,” Walton said, before rejecting a defense request that he dismiss the indictment entirely. After consideration, Walton then ordered the new trial.

Several pretrial hearings this time included protests from defense attorneys that the prosecution was trying to take advantage of having heard the initial opening statement last summer by the defense. In the latest trial, defense attorneys expressed concern that prosecutors were trying to “do over” certain efforts the defense may have refuted.

Deliberations Wednesday were set to begin at 1:30 p.m.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Clemens trial about lying, not baseball: prosecutors

June 12, 2012

Chicago Tribune on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“Lily Kuo
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in the perjury trial of former pitching ace Roger Clemens urged jurors on Tuesday to use common sense and not to fall for the “entangled web of lies” he weaved to protect his reputation.

Clemens, 49, is on trial for the second time on federal charges of lying in 2008 to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball.

Prosecutors made closing arguments as jurors prepared to begin deliberations after nearly two months of testimony.

“What is this case about?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero asked. “This case is not about Roger Clemens’ greatness. It is about (him) lying…to protect his legacy.”

Clemens, who won 354 regular-season games and is a record seven-time winner of the yearly Cy Young Award as best pitcher, is among the biggest names implicated in drug use in baseball.

The defense has worked to portray Clemens as a hard worker whose stunning late-career success was the product of dedication and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs.

Defense lawyers will make closing statements and the jury will begin deliberating later Tuesday or Wednesday morning on what they have heard from 46 witnesses in the nine-week trial.

Guerrero outlined the government’s charges against Clemens, including obstruction of Congress, making a false statement and perjury, and appealed to jurors to use their common sense.

He argued against attacks on the testimony of Brian McNamee, the prosecution’s key witness and Clemens’ former trainer, who said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone between 1998 and 2001.

Clemens’ lawyers have worked to paint McNamee as a liar who obtained immunity in exchange for his testimony.

“We’re not asking you to like Brian McNamee. … Brian McNamee did a lot of things that weren’t nice … but Roger Clemens is the one who chose Brian McNamee to inject him with steroids and HGH,” Guerrero told the jury.

He also highlighted inconsistencies in defense witnesses from Clemens’s wife, Debbie, who testified that she had received an injection of human growth hormone from McNamee in 2000.

New York Yankees’ pitcher Andy Pettitte testified earlier in the trial that Clemens, a former teammate, told Pettitte in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone but, years later, said he had been referring to his wife’s use of the drug.

Guerrero pointed to physical evidence prosecutors have presented, medical waste which they say contain Clemens DNA and traces of steroids. Defense attorneys have argued that blood and pus on two cotton balls and a small number of cells on a needle, could have been fabricated.

“That’s totally illogical. There’s no way in the world someone could fabricate that,” Guerrero said, echoing the testimony of a government forensic scientist.

McNamee testified that he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other medical waste from injections for Clemens. He turned the evidence in to authorities in 2008.

Clemens won his final Cy Young Award in 2004, the summer he turned 42, in his first season with the Houston Astros.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


John Edwards’ lawyers: $1M used to hide mistress wasn’t campaign contribution; FEC agreed

May 14, 2012

The Washington Post on May 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

GREENSBORO, N.C. — After weeks of testimony about John Edwards’ illicit affair and the money used to cover it up, his defense attorneys opened their case Monday by digging into the details of federal campaign finance law.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. He is accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Defense attorneys are attacking the foundation of the prosecution’s argument that the money should be considered an illegal campaign contribution intended to influence the outcome of an election.

But even the federal government was split on that, the defense argues: The Federal Election Commission previously decided that the money was not a campaign contribution. In court Monday, a prosecutor from the Department of Justice called that decision irrelevant to their criminal case and argued against the jury being able to hear about it.

The first witness called by the defense was Lora Haggard, who was in charge of campaign finance compliance for Edwards. In 2008, she was chief financial officer of the John Edwards for President committee.

She testified that the money from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and campaign finance chairman Fred Baron has still never been reported on the campaign’s required disclosure reports, because even after Edwards was charged FEC auditors said it didn’t need to be.

She also said Edwards was never involved in formulating, filling out or filing campaign finance reports that were sent to the FEC. In the sixth count of his indictment, Edwards is accused of causing his campaign to file a false report through deceit.

“We never gave him a report to review,” Haggard said. “He had no input.”

The defense had intended to call former FEC chairman Scott Thomas as their first witness Monday morning, but prosecutors objected to his potential expert testimony on the FEC’s decision about the money. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles scheduled a hearing for later in the day over whether to limit Thomas’ testimony.

The defense opened its case Monday after the judge refused to dismiss the charges on Friday after 14 days of prosecution testimony.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday by playing a tape of a 2008 national television interview in which the Democrat repeatedly lied about his extramarital affair and denied fathering his mistress’ baby. Earlier testimony from a parade of former aides and advisers also showed an unappealing side of Edwards, casting him as a liar and lousy husband.

The defense has not yet indicted whether Edwards or his mistress, Rielle Hunter, will take the stand.

Before winning a U.S. Senate seat in 1998, Edwards made a fortune as a personal injury lawyer renowned for his ability to sway jurors. But his testimony would expose himself to a likely withering cross-examination about his many past lies and personal failings.

Edwards pollster and friend Harrison Hickman took the witness stand shortly before the lunch recess Monday. Ex-Edwards defense lawyer Wade Smith may also be called Monday afternoon.”

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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.


Prosecutors display weaponry seized after militiamen arrests

May 10, 2012

Anchorage Daily News on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Jurors get a look at arsenal seized from homes, trailer.
By RICHARD MAUER

The weapons and conspiracy trial of three Fairbanks militia members continued into its third day Wednesday with the introduction of seized guns, ammunition and documents, some brought into the federal courthouse, others as pictures projected on a big screen.

Federal prosecutors are taking the early days of the trial to set the groundwork for the weeks ahead. They’re systematically — and somewhat tediously — working with witnesses from the FBI and Alaska State Troopers to show the jury what their search warrants uncovered in the homes and a trailer belonging to the three defendants, Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon.

On Wednesday morning, FBI Agent Jolene Goeden showed photographs of thousands of rounds of ammunition seized in March 2011 from a large white trailer owned by Barney that was found parked at a Fairbanks ice park after the three men were arrested.

FBI agents had thought the trailer would be at the home of one of the suspects. When it wasn’t there when the men were arrested March 10, 2011, it set off a frantic search that included the use of aircraft. Officials knew from an informant that the trailer was filled with weapons and were concerned on two fronts — that other militia members, upset with the arrests of their leadership, might stage an attack using the ordnance, or that it could pose an explosion hazard to innocent bystanders if something inside ignited accidently.

Barney eventually told a U.S. Marshal where it was.

In addition to the ammo, the trailer also held a sniper rifle, a tripod-mounted semi automatic rifle, an M-16 assault rifle and grenade launchers, as well as supplies and equipment for Barney’s contracting business, Mammoth Electric.

Goeden also showed another copy of the 17 “Acts of War” that was found in the trailer. Unlike the one found in Cox’s house and entered as evidence Tuesday, this one had checkmarks next to the acts that presumably had already taken place, including firearms restrictions, confiscation of “any property,” federalization of law enforcement and the surrendering of power to a corporation or foreign government.

Only three acts remained unchecked: “mandatory medical anything,” elimination of gold, cash or barter, and the use of chips or marks to track, control or monitor.

Cox, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and an ideological force in the Alaska “sovereign citizen” movement, once rescinded a guilty plea to a 2010 reckless endangerment charge by filing a notice to the recorder’s office in Fairbanks. A copy of the notice and other filings in his case were among the documents seized in the search of the home of co-defendant Barney, 37, a major in the militia.

The jury saw a copy of the seized set of documents — the standard court order dated March 10, 2010, accepting his plea deal, providing for no jail time and two years probation, and the surreal documents Cox used to abrogate the plea, including the paperwork for his now-famous “trial” in a Denny’s restaurant before a jury of his pals in which he was acquitted. Among the papers was the document filed in the recorder’s office — a repository mainly for land transactions — in which Cox captioned his case, “State of Alaska, a fiction, plaintiff, v Schaeffer Cox, a natural Man, victim and witness, waiving no rights, EVER.”

Interspersed with written ramblings were displays of the arsenals the men had amassed: Kalashnikov- and M-16-style assault rifles, numerous pistols and long rifles, hundreds of ammo clips, launchers for firing pepper-spray and tear-gas type canisters along with dozens of those rounds, powder and explosives. Troopers and FBI seized numerous body armor vests, handcuffs, a lock-pick kit, police duty belts and a “go bag” with 10 hand-held radios, batteries, pistols, an assault rifle, loaded magazines and a roll of duct tape.

Alaska State Trooper Joshua Rallo said he counted 20,000 rounds of ammunition in a storage pantry on the first floor of Barney’s home in North Pole adjacent to his office.

At each break in the proceedings, one of the prosecutors and an FBI agent would wheel out the evidence already presented to the jury and return with a cart filled with more stuff, some of it quite heavy. And there are still days to go in this phase of the trial.

The defense attorneys have not been saying much, but on one occasion, Barney’s attorney, Tim Dooley, asked Rallo whether everything he seized “was legal for a citizen to own?”

“Provided they’re not a felon, I guess,” Rallo replied.

There’s been almost no evidence about how the defendants amassed their armaments, or managed to pay for them. Prosecutors introduced a credit card receipt from Cox for $583 to Far North Tactical, a Fairbanks arms and police-supply merchant, and the phone number for the shop showed up on other seized paperwork.

They also introduced a mail-order box for a 37mm grenade launcher from a company called American Ammo from Ohio, and the stern instructions that came with it, warning that using the product for anything other than as a low-powered “wildlife control banger” could get the user in serious trouble with the federal government.”

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

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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.


Federal Jury Acquits All Six in a High-Profile Alabama Federal Corruption Case

March 8, 2012

AJC.com on March 7, 2012 released the following:

“Jury acquits all 6 in Ala. casino corruption case

By PHILLIP RAWLS
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A jury acquitted a casino owner, three current or former state lawmakers and two other defendants on all counts Wednesday in a high-profile federal case that alleged the legislators were being bribed to legalize gambling in the state.

The jury returned its verdict after seven days of deliberations. One-by-one, each defendant stepped up to a podium in front of the judge to hear the verdicts. They nodded in agreement with the jury’s decision, squeezed their attorneys’ hand or bounced nervously as the clerk said not guilty. Family members in the gallery sobbed in relief, and when court recessed, there were hugs all around.

“We feel like this case was built on innuendos, lies and half-truths,” said Tom Coker, a casino lobbyist who was among those acquitted.

The federal investigation of vote buying began with three Republican legislators telling the FBI they were offered campaign contributions if they would support legislation designed to let electronic bingo games operate in Alabama.

Federal prosecutors said behind the scenes, two casino operators and their lobbyists were offering millions in campaign contributions, benefit concerts by country music entertainers, free polling and other incentives for votes.

The trial was the second for the defendants. The first ended in August with no convictions, two defendants acquitted, and the jury unable to resolve all charges against the remaining defendants.

“This is truly a day to celebrate, and ladies and gentlemen, the celebration starts now,” said VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor.

State Sen. Harri Anne Smith said she would walk into the Senate on Thursday and get to vote again.

“I got my life back today and I want to thank God for that jury,” Smith said.

Also acquitted were former Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt, and Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker.

McGregor, the casino owner, was accused of offering large campaign contributions to legislators for their votes for gambling legislation. Smith and the former senators were accused of agreeing to accept bribes in return for their votes.

The jury found McGregor and the others innocent on charges that included conspiracy and bribery.

The case was the latest in a series of government corruption investigations in Alabama, including the conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on bribery charges in 2006 and a probe of Alabama’s two-year college system that brought down three legislators and the system’s former chancellor in 2008.

The three Republican legislators who cooperated with the FBI recorded calls and meetings and the FBI tapped phones during a yearlong probe that coincided with Republican Gov. Bob Riley creating a task force to shut down electronic bingo. Riley said the machines, featuring flashing lights and sound effects, were illegal slot machines and not simply an electronic version of paper bingo.

Riley’s task force seized machines and won court battles while casino operators failed in 2009 and in 2010 to pass protective legislation.

Ronnie Gilley, the developer of Country Crossing casino, and two of his lobbyists, Jennifer Pouncy and Jarrod Massey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Former state Rep. Terry Spicer of Elba also pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Massey and Gilley. All four helped the prosecution and are scheduled for sentencing in April.

Prosecutors said Gilley provided Smith with $200,000 in campaign money, plus a fundraising concert by John Anderson and Lorrie Morgan. They accused Gilley and McGregor of promising Means $100,000 for his vote. They accused Gilley, McGregor and Walker of promising Preuitt $2 million in contributions, a fundraising concert by country music starts and other campaign support.

Defense attorneys argued the case was based on lies told by the guilty in hopes of getting lighter punishment.

All three indicted senators voted for the gambling legislation when it passed the Senate on March 30, 2010. The FBI announced its investigation two days later, and the bill died in the House without coming to a vote.

McGregor’s casino, 15 miles east of Montgomery, was once the state’s largest with 6,000 machines, but it has been closed since the crackdown in 2010. Other casinos, including one in Dothan operated by Gilley’s former partners, are operating.

One thing that was never in dispute in the trial was the profitability of electronic bingo. McGregor’s attorneys acknowledged his casino in Shorter made $40 million in 2009 when it was operating all year and lost $4 million in 2010 when it was closed most of the year.”

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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.


Solitary Confinement Is Too Harsh for ‘Lord of War’ Vicktor Bout

February 11, 2012

Courthouse News Service on February 10, 2012 released the following:

“By ADAM KLASFELD

MANHATTAN (CN) – International arms smuggler Viktor Bout should not face solitary confinement, a federal judge insisted at a combative hearing on Friday afternoon.

A Russian national, Bout was the subject of the nonfiction book “Merchant of Death,” and allegedly inspired the Hollywood movie “The Lord of War.” For years, he was suspected of arming dictators, despots and warring factions in the Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and other conflict zones around the world.

Though sanctioned by the United Nations, Bout remained a free man for more than a decade until the U.S. government snared him in “Operation Relentless,” a sting operation with undercover informants posing as guerrillas from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

A federal jury convicted him in November, and U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to set aside the verdict at a hearing on Thursday.

At that hearing, Scheindlin reportedly criticized the conditions of Bout’s imprisonment as “harsh.” She convened the Friday afternoon hearing to leave no doubt that those conditions must change.

A Jan. 20, 2011, administration order called for Bout’s incarceration in a maximum-security cell of the Metropolitan Correctional Center for 23 hours per day. Adam Johnson, the prison’s supervising attorney, said that Bout usually declines the hour per day in which he is allowed to use the recreational center.

Bout’s attorney Albert Dayan says the center is an indoor cell much like his own, in which he cannot interact with the other inmates. Bout’s only source of outside air comes from the occasional “crack” to the recreation room’s window, Dayan said.

While the prison accommodates Bout’s vegetarian diet, Bout says he is only fed oatmeal, peanut butter and beans in a pot.

He can only place a phone call or meet with his family once a month, Johnson said.

Scheindlin told Johnson that he should call Bout’s prison conditions by their name.

“Long-term solitary confinement is the way to put it,” Scheindlin said, adding that “studies have been conducted” on its effects.

A 2009 New Yorker article titled “Hellhole,” explored the movement to define isolation as torture. Psychologists for Social Responsibility have called supermax prisons “cruel, unusual and inhumane” in an open letter opposing the confinement of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, before he was transferred from Quantico.

Suzanne Hastings, a warden at MCC, claimed that solitary was necessary to keep Bout from harming the guards, other inmates and himself.

Scheindlin brushed aside that argument, arguing that nothing in the record indicated that Bout was violent or linked to any terrorist organization.

“This is a businessman,” Scheindlin said, indicating Bout. “You might not like the business he’s in.”

That business, the judge pointed out later, was “the arms business.”

“This country sells a lot of arms,” Scheindlin added.

Though convicted of arming terrorists, the FARC militants that Bout agreed to arm were all undercover government informants.

“I’m familiar with this case, and I can distinguish it from other so-called terrorism cases,” Scheindlin said.

Kenneth Kaplan, Bout’s other attorney, cited cases in which inmates in the MCC’s terrorism unit were ordered into more humane detention.

One, Kathy Boudine, was convicted of felony murder and armed robbery in an operation with the Weather Underground.

Another, Mafia soldier Vincent Basciano, was placed in the section of the prison normally reserved for convicted terrorists until the 2nd Circuit intervened, Kaplan said.

“He was a dangerous guy,” Scheindlin said. “Didn’t he threaten a judge? I haven’t been threatened [by Bout].”

Scheindlin requested that prosecutors and defense attorneys file arguments about her ability to change the conditions of Bout’s confinement and judicial precedents for such actions.”

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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.