Counterfeit sneaker defendant acquitted

October 20, 2012

The Buffalo News on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“BY: PHIL FAIRBANKS

By the time the predawn raids were over, 24 people were rounded up and charged, each one accused of taking part in a multimillion-dollar counterfeit sneaker ring stretching from China to Buffalo.

Five years later, one of the 24 rolled the dice and went to trial, well aware that each of his co-defendants had been convicted.

A federal court jury helped Greg Smiley beat the odds Thursday by finding him not guilty.

“He’s very happy and glad to be heading home to see his family,” said David R. Addelman, Smiley’s defense lawyer.

In understanding why Smiley went to trial – and ultimately got off – while 23 others did not, Addelman believes it is important to understand the defendants’ varying degrees of involvement in the counterfeit sneaker case.

He says Smiley was a relatively small player in the conspiracy, a network that started with manufacturers in China and stretched all the way to two New York City warehouses and ultimately to distribution points in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

“I don’t think we can read too much into it,” Addelman said of his client’s acquittal. “He was way out there in Atlanta all by himself.”

Prosecutors dismiss the notion that Smiley was anything but a major player in the conspiracy or that the case against him was weaker than against other defendants.

“We certainly felt the case was a strong one,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. “We charged 24 men and women and 23 were convicted.”

As the owner of Top of the Line Fashions, a small neighborhood clothing store, Smiley stood accused of buying and selling counterfeit Nike sneakers.

From the start, he argued that, yes, he bought the sneakers but no, he had no idea they were fakes.

“The prosecution was, he must have known,” said Addelman. “And the defense was, that’s no way to convict someone.”

The jury seemed to agree even though the prosecution, eager to prove Smiley knew what he was buying, played taped recordings of his conversations with one of the alleged ring leaders, Malik Bazzi.

“He’ll tell you how the whole operation ran,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski said of Bazzi early on in the trial. “He’ll tell you how he found suppliers. He’ll tell you how he found customers. And most important, he’ll tell you how he knew Greg Smiley.”

Federal agents also testified against Smiley, noting the taped conversations with Bazzi and the repeated delivery of counterfeit sneakers to Smiley’s store in Georgia.

Addelman countered by suggesting the recordings proved very little and that Smiley was nothing more than another victim of the conspiracy.”

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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 Poised to Rest in Roger Clemens’ Federal Criminal Trial

May 29, 2012

MLB.com on May 29, 2012 released the following:

By John Schlegel / MLB.com

“Prosecutors poised to rest case vs. Clemens

WASHINGTON — As the seventh week of the Roger Clemens federal perjury trial begins, the prosecution is poised to rest its case against the former star pitcher.

With likely two witnesses remaining before the government’s case gives way to the defense’s case, which lead attorney Rusty Hardin has said will take seven or eight court days to present, the prosecution has called 21 witnesses over 19 days of complicated, detailed and sometimes tedious testimony to attempt to prove to jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Clemens lied to Congress in 2008.

The defense will continue to endeavor to raise that doubt with its case, which will include repeat appearances from federal agents Jeff Novitzky and John Longmire, who each spent several hours on the stand as witnesses for the prosecution.

Before Hardin and fellow defense attorney Michael Attanasio, who proved to be a potent force in cross-examination of witnesses from Andy Pettitte to scientific experts, take their turn in presenting Clemens’ case, the prosecution will wrap up its presentation with what it hopes is an effective finale Tuesday.

Clemens is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress based on his testimony during a Feb. 13, 2008, hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a Feb. 5, 2008, deposition conducted by committee staff members. Clemens said at the hearing, “Let me be clear: I have never used steroids or HGH.”

Brian McNamee, who served as a strength and conditioning trainer to Clemens in one capacity or another for nearly a decade, said in his own deposition and at that same hearing and again in a week-long stay on the witness stand in the trial that he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs on numerous occasions, keeping items he says proves it in a beer can and a mailing box for nearly seven years.

Forensic scientist Alan Keel revealed Friday that Clemens’ DNA was found on a needle and two cotton balls that were part of the physical evidence McNamee kept in his house for several years before turning it over to the government. Keel also withstood rigorous cross-examination from Attanasio and numerous skeptical questions from jurors.

When court reconvenes Tuesday, the government intends to call Wall Street investment manager Anthony Corso and FBI forensic scientist Eric Pokorak. Prosecutors indicated at one point they might call one other as yet unnamed witness as well.

Corso is expected to testify about how McNamee told him in 2002 that Clemens had used HGH to help with recovery and told him in 2005 that he had saved needles from Clemens, combining with the testimony from former Major Leaguer David Segui to further rebut defense attacks that McNamee made up his story to appease federal investigators in 2007.

Pokorak likely will tie up the loose ends on the forensics introduced so far. Testimony has yet to provide the link between the items Keel testified had Clemens’ DNA to the steroids that other scientific experts testified were found on the items.

The government filed a pair of motions on Memorial Day. One moves to rebut the defense’s attacks on Keel and inform the jury that the defense also could have tested the evidence.

The other motion attempts to head off some of the character witnesses the defense intends to call, asking the court to “preclude or limit additional evidence of the defendant’s athletic work ethic and any opinion testimony by former coaches, trainers or teammates regarding the defendant not showing any signs of steroid or HGH use.”

The government argued that such testimony should open the door to testimony from other baseball players who “also adhered to strong athletic work ethics but nonetheless used steroids or HGH to perform better than their competitors.”

The pace of the trial was a significant issue earlier in the trial, which was projected to last 4-6 weeks — so much so that Judge Reggie Walton imposed time limits on the attorneys of 90 minutes for direct and cross. But Walton allowed both sides some leeway on that with Keel, given the importance of the evidence he discussed. Juror questions of Keel took about an hour as well.

Two jurors were excused for falling asleep on the job, and now a third juror may not be able to return. Juror No. 16, a Metro transit police officer, found out as Friday’s proceedings were coming to a close that her mother had passed away. Walton indicated it’s unlikely she’ll return to duty, which would leave the jury panel with 12 jurors and just one alternate remaining.”

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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.