A Eugene Federal Judge Rejected Mandatory Minimum Sentences

October 31, 2012

The Register Guard on October 31, 2012 released the following:

“Mandatory sentences rejected

A judge refuses to send a father and son to prison for five years for burning trees and brush on federal land

BY KAREN MCCOWAN

Rejecting mandatory minimum five-year sentences as “grossly disproportionate” to the crimes, a federal judge in Eugene on Tuesday sentenced an Eastern Oregon rancher to three months in prison and his adult son to one year and a day for deliberately setting fires on federal land.

A federal jury in June convicted the Harney County pair after a two-week trial in Pendleton.

Jurors convicted Dwight Hammond Jr., 70, on a single count of arson for “intentionally and maliciously” setting the 2001 Hardie-Hammond Fire in the Steens Mountain federal management and protection area. They convicted Steven Dwight Hammond, 43, of the same crime and of a second arson count for similarly setting the 2006 Krumbo Butte Fire. It burned in the same area and in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The jury acquitted both men on arson charges in two 2006 fires.

U.S. Judge Michael Hogan agreed with the Hammonds’ defense lawyers that setting fire to juniper trees and sagebrush in the wilderness was not the type of crime that Congress had in mind when it set mandatory sentences of five to 20 years for anyone who “maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy by means of fire” any federal property. The mandate was part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

Prosecutors alleged that the father-son owners of Hammond Ranches Inc. set a series of fires on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land where the Hammonds had grazing rights. Prosecutors said the fires were set to reduce the growth of juniper trees and sagebrush, and to accelerate the growth of rangeland grasses for the Hammonds’ cattle.

Some 15 friends, relatives and neighbors of the pair traveled from Eastern Oregon to support them at the sentencing. The men’s attorneys submitted dozens of letters of support.

In a sentencing memo, the defense lawyers noted that both men have served on the French Glen School Board, Community Club and Site Council, and were “instrumental” in founding and financing the French Glen Education Foundation, which funds extracurricular activities for area students. The Hammonds also regularly host an annual science and careers fair for seven rural schools, contribute money and food to the Harney County 4-H and FFA clubs, and donate meat to the Harney County Senior Center, the memo said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Papagni acknowledged that the Hammonds, “both of them, have done many wonderful things for the community.”

But he urged Hogan to follow the law, noting that Steven Hammond’s nephew — Dwight Hammond’s grandson — testified that he “thought he was going to get burned up” when flames moved toward him as the then-13-year-old followed his uncle’s orders to light brush with matches.

The arsons also endangered the lives of BLM firefighters and hunters camping near one of the blazes, the government alleged.

“Congress decided that this particular offense should carry a mandatory, statutory minimum term of five years,” Papagni wrote in the government’s sentencing memo. “The evidence of defendants’ guilt was substantial. The jury’s verdict of guilt for this particular offense mandates imposition of the required statutory minimum term, as the statute constrains this court’s discretion.”

Hogan disagreed, imposing the lesser terms. He also sentenced both Hammonds to three years of postprison supervision and required them to surrender their firearms. The judge also allowed the men to stagger their sentences in order to keep operating their ranch. He ordered Dwight Hammond to report to prison in January, with Steven Hammond to begin his sentence upon his father’s release.”

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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.


Ohio man acquitted on federal gun charge

October 23, 2012

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

“CURTIS JOHNSON
The Herald-Dispatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

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.


Husband and Wife, Aaron Michael Hymas and Tiffany Kim Hymas, Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud

October 19, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2012 released the following:

Part of Ongoing Crestwood Mortgage Fraud

BOISE— Aaron Michael Hymas, 38, and Tiffany Kim Hymas, 37, former Treasure Valley residents now living in Bountiful, Utah, pled guilty today in United States District Court in Boise to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreements, the defendants admitted that on March 28, 2007, they schemed to defraud a lender by having Tiffany Hymas submit a residential loan application for $295,600, wherein she misrepresented that she was employed by OPM Enterprises with 2.6 years on the job; that she had income and commissions of $72,500 per month; and that she had gross rental income of $14,600 per month from four properties located in Meridian, Nampa, and Boise. Based on these misrepresentations, the loan was funded by Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker Mortgage Corporation. The defendants admitted that Tiffany Hymas’ statements were false and material to the loan application and that they knew the statements were false at the time she made them.

The defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for January 14, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

“False statements to banks and lenders in order to obtain home loans have undermined the integrity of our nation’s housing financing system,” said Olson. “These pleas move us closer to the conclusion of the long term investigation into the mortgage activities of those associated with Crestwood Homes. Federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the District of Idaho are committed to working together to ensure that those who fraudulently obtain home loans for personal gain are punished.”

In a related case, sentencing is set for October 25-26, 2012, for Travis Richard Hymas, 29, of Cedar Hills, Utah, formerly of Meridian, Idaho. A federal jury convicted Hymas on June 22 on five counts of wire fraud related to mortgage fraud. During the eight-day trial, the jury heard evidence that between November 2006 and March 2007, Hymas defrauded five lenders on nine residential loans valued at approximately $1.7 million. According to court documents, Travis and his wife Season filed a bankruptcy petition on July 17, 2008, in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. On March 19, 2009, a substantial amount of the debt they owed on the fraudulent loans was discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding. Season Hymas is set for trial in Boise on November 13.

The cases are part of an investigation of mortgage fraud activity related to Crestwood, which involved multiple defendants who bought and sold real estate in order to “flip” it, or gain profits from the sales. The financial institutions and mortgage lenders incurred substantial losses on the loan transactions.

To date, nine people have been sentenced in related cases, including Michael J. Hymas, Shauntee K. Ferguson, Christopher R. Georgeson, Stanley J. Ferguson, Brent Bethers, Shane Merlin Hymas, Laurie Krechelle Hymas, Melody C. Redondo, and Paul Redondo.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with assistance provided by the Office of the United States Trustee and the Idaho Department of Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”

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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

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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 Prosecutors Recommend in Federal Court in Chicago that William Cellini Deserves a Federal Sentence of up to 8-years

July 13, 2012

Chicago Tribune on July 12, 2012 released the following:

“8-year sentence recommended for fundraiser, lobbyist Cellini

By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune reporter

Longtime state power broker William Cellini deserves to go to prison for up to eight years for attempting to extort a campaign contribution from a Hollywood producer, federal prosecutors argued for his upcoming sentencing.

But prosecutors went on to say they understood if U.S. District Judge James Zagel imposes a lower sentence given Cellini’s age — 77 — and health problems.

“The government agrees that the combination of Cellini’s health and age makes this one of the relatively rare situations where it may well be appropriate to impose a sentence below” the 61/2 to eight years in prison called for under federal guidelines, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

Cellini was admitted twice last month to a hospital in Springfield after first suffering a heart attack and then after his doctors discovered a blood clot, according to his lawyers.

Cellini is scheduled to be sentenced July 23 in federal court in Chicago.

In the 29-page court filing, prosecutors argued that any break given to Cellini “should be relatively modest” and rejected calls by the defense for probation.

“Cellini’s medical condition, however, is not a basis to excuse him from a meaningful sentence of incarceration,” the prosecution filing said.

A federal jury convicted Cellini in November of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting in the solicitation of a bribe for trying to extort a contribution for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign from a Hollywood producer who wanted to keep his lucrative business with the state.

In their filing, prosecutors recounted how for decades Cellini, a powerful Republican lobbyist and fundraiser, allegedly used his clout to exercise “considerable influence over governmental functions despite the fact that he held no official title.”

“Cellini goes too far … by suggesting that his age and health justify a sentence of probation,” the government wrote. “In contrast, a meaningful sentence of incarceration would send a strong message of deterrence to those who are tempted to corrupt governmental functions. Such a sentence would demonstrate that, no matter how much money you accumulate, or how many friends and supporters you enjoy, there is no protection from prison when you are caught corrupting public institutions.”

Cellini’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.”

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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

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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.


An aggressive, all-out defense

June 6, 2012

ESPN on June 6, 2012 released the following:

“By Lester Munson

WASHINGTON — It would be easy for Roger Clemens and his legal team to poke a few holes in the evidence against him and then argue to the jury that federal prosecutors have failed to meet the Constitution’s requirement of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If they managed to convince one or two jurors, they could hope for a deadlock in the jury’s deliberations and a mistrial and a technical victory.

That is not what they are doing. As they presented their 14th witness on Tuesday, they were in the middle of a massive effort that seeks nothing less than the total destruction of the government’s effort and a not-guilty-on-all-counts verdict that will vindicate Clemens and begin to restore his legacy as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.

It’s a highly unusual strategy. There was enough doubt about the government’s evidence after the four-day cross-examination of the prosecutors’ star witness, Brian McNamee, that many defense lawyers would have concluded their efforts and relied on the jury to find the necessary “reasonable doubt.” McNamee confessed to numerous lies, mistakes and exaggerations, the kinds of admissions that most defense lawyers agree are enough to persuade one or more dubious jurors to hold out for a not guilty verdict.

But lead Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin’s cross-examination of McNamee was only the beginning, not the end, of the defense effort.

Relying on a high school teammate, retired ballplayers, expert witnesses, a housekeeper, two masseuses, a broadcaster, and even an FBI agent, Hardin is offering answers to every element of the government’s charges against Clemens. And there is more to come. Hardin says he’ll finish his presentation of as many as 21 witnesses on Friday, and when he is done, it promises be an impressive accumulation of evidence.

Here’s a look at how the Clemens lawyers have responded so far to the government’s charges that Clemens lied to Congress when he denied that he had ever used steroids or HGH.

At the center of the government’s case is a trove of syringes, cotton balls, vials, and ampoules that McNamee claims he used to inject Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee gathered the physical evidence after injecting Clemens in August 2001, stored it in a beer can and a FedEx box in his house, and finally turned it in to the government in January 2008. The prosecutors used an FBI expert and a forensic scientist from a private lab to show that Clemens’ DNA was present on some of the materials.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Goldberger, a Ph.D. forensic toxicologist who is the founder and director of a lab at the University of Florida, explained to the jury that the physical evidence did not meet the standards that apply to the collection and preservation of physical evidence.

Goldberger’s testimony came after a vigorous and extended argument from Asst. U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler, who insisted to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that Goldberger was not qualified to offer expertise on the collection of evidence and was qualified only to examine substances (blood, urine, drugs) in his laboratory. Clearly impressed with Goldberger and his knowledge of evidence collection, Walton allowed Hardin to present the expert to the jury.

Commingling the cotton balls, the syringes, and the other materials in what may have been a damp beer can, Goldberger said, leads to the possibility of “cross-contamination” and precludes the connection of any of the materials to anyone.

Speaking calmly and persuasively in what was the most powerful testimony in the entire trial, Goldberger told the jury that “the possibility of contamination leads to unreliable laboratory conclusions” and “there must be certainty beyond a reasonable doubt before we can make the scientific connection” between the material and an individual.

In the course of Goldberger’s testimony, the language of the trial was transformed with words like “manipulation” and “fabrication” and “garbage” suddenly being used in connection with materials the prosecutors had described as “medical waste.”

Goldberger told the jury that the material was doubly suspicious because it had been “collected and preserved by the accuser.” Hardin was soon referring to McNamee as the “accuser-collector.”

Butler’s cross-examination of Goldberger did not help as he quarreled with Goldberger about his qualifications and picked at him with questions about the “back story” of a piece of evidence. Butler succeeded only in allowing Hardin to come back with a question that prompted Goldberger to conclude that the physical evidence was the worst Goldberger had seen in 30 years of working with trial evidence.

On another central issue in the trial, Hardin has managed to suggest something that seemed totally unlikely ballplayers’ use injections of Vitamin B12 the way most of us use aspirin or Tylenol. Clemens, in what once seemed to be a weak response to allegations that he had been injected with steroids, claimed that the injections were B12.

Former pitcher Mike Boddicker told the jury that B12 injections were common during his 13 years in the big leagues and that he once walked into the Boston Red Sox training room and was surprised to see Clemens with his pants down being injected in the buttocks with B12. Boddicker, another charming and engaging witness for the defense, told the jury that he could see “B12” on the vial on the training table.

Like the other MLB players that Hardin and Clemens have presented, Boddicker seemed to capture the attention of the jury with his stories that he survived in the big leagues for 13 years with an 84-mph fastball and that he was once traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

Prosecutor Steven Durham tried to cross-examine Boddicker by raising the well-known, unwritten law of an MLB clubhouse that what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. It was supposed to show that Boddicker would skew his testimony to help Clemens. But, instead, it opened the door for Hardin to return with Boddicker’s report that Clemens would frequently leave the clubhouse in uniform to visit children in Boston hospitals and that he insisted that his teammates tell no one, especially media, about it.

The enormous Clemens-Hardin effort clearly has the prosecutors scrambling. In his attempt to prepare for Goldberger’s testimony, Butler was on the phone with Goldberger on Tuesday morning, only hours before Goldberger appeared before the jury. To prepare for Boddicker’s testimony, the prosecutors sent an FBI agent to interview him on Sunday before his Tuesday appearance.

The defense strategy is proactive, and it is aggressive. It fits what we know of the Clemens way of doing things. It’s working now, but as another great ballplayer said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.””

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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.


Media motion seeks Edwards juror names at end of trial

May 26, 2012

The Charlotte Observer on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations are seeking to make public the names of jurors deciding federal charges against John Edwards at the end of his trial at the U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

In a motion filed with the court Wednesday, the media organizations cited a local rule of the Greensboro court that prohibits the clerk’s office from disclosing without court permission the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people who have served on juries.

The panel deciding whether the former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate violated federal campaign-contribution laws is expected to begin its fifth day of deliberations Thursday. The jury has not been sequestered during more than four weeks of testimony or during deliberations.

The names of people serving on federal juries is public according to federal law, the media organizations argued in their court filings.

The motion also cites intense public interest in the trial and in how the jury ultimately rules. It argues that “there is no compelling governmental interest in withholding the identities of individuals who served on the jury. Moreover, given that the case has proceeded in open court with jurors whose identities are at least partially known, perpetuating the secrecy of the jury is an affront to the First Amendment in service of a weak interest with no hope of success.”

Joining in the motion are WRAL, WTVD, The New York Times Co., Media General, News 14 Carolina, NBC Universal and The Associated Press.”

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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.


3 convicted, 6 acquitted in sex trafficking case

May 4, 2012

Fox News on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

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.