Eighteen sheriff’s deputies charged by FBI LA in an alleged inmate-abuse probe

December 10, 2013

The Guardian on December 9, 2013 released the following:

Associated Press in Los Angeles

“Federal officials on Monday unsealed five criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation’s largest jail system.

The charges were announced at a press conference after 16 of 18 defendants were arrested earlier in the day. They were expected to be arraigned later in US district court.

“These incidents did not take place in a vacuum – in fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized,” said US attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “The pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the sheriff’s department considered themselves to be above the law.”

Four grand jury indictments and a criminal complaint allege unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors at downtown Los Angeles jail facilities, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the Men’s Central Jail. The FBI has been investigating allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county’s jails since at least 2011. An official said the arrests were related to the abuse of individuals in the jail system and also allegations that sheriff’s officials moved an FBI informant in the jails possibly to thwart their probe.

A sheriff’s department spokesman, Steve Whitmore, referred calls to the FBI and said Sheriff Lee Baca would provide a comment later on Monday afternoon. “We’ve cooperated fully with the FBI in their investigation and we’ll continue to do so,” Whitmore said.

One federal indictment, filed on 20 November, named seven deputies charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. It is unclear from the indictment whether they are currently employed by the department. Among those charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the 18-page indictment are two lieutenants, one of whom oversaw the department’s safe jails program and another who investigated allegations of local crimes committed by sheriff’s personnel, two sergeants and three deputies.

All seven are accused of trying to prevent the FBI from contacting or interviewing an inmate who was helping federal agents in a corruption and civil rights probe. One of the investigations involved trying to see if a deputy would accept a bribe to provide the inmate with a cell phone, court documents show. The indictment alleges the inmate was moved to hide him and false entries were made in the sheriff’s databases to make it appear as if he had been released.

In an attempt to find out more information about the investigation, one lieutenant and the two sergeants sought a court order to compel the FBI to provide documents, prosecutors said. When a state judge denied the proposed order, the two sergeants allegedly attempted to intimidate one of the lead FBI agents outside her house and falsely told her they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest, the indictment said.

Baca has acknowledged mistakes to a county commission reviewing reports of brutality, but he has also defended his department and distanced himself personally from the allegations. He said he has made improvements including creating a database to track inmate complaints. Baca has also hired a new head of custody and rearranged his command staff.

Retired sheriff’s commander Bob Olmsted, who is challenging Baca for the voter-elected position of sheriff in 2014, said in a statement on Monday that the arrests “underscore the high level of corruption that has plagued the Sheriff’s Department”. He said that as a commander he tried “several times” to notify the sheriff and his command staff about “ongoing abuses and misconduct” in Men’s Central Jail, but his “concerns fell on deaf ears”.

“I knew I had to act, and as a result, I notified the FBI of the department’s culture and acceptance of excessive force, inmate abuse, sheriff’s gangs, and corruption,” Olmsted said.

In 2012 the American Civil Liberties Union sued the sheriff’s department, claiming the sheriff and his top commanders had condoned violence against inmates. The organization released a report documenting more than 70 cases of misconduct by deputies.

Last month the county announced the appointment of a veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor, Max Huntsman, to head a new office of inspector general that will oversee the sheriff’s department.

As of Monday, the county’s jails held more than 18,700 inmates.”

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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

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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.


“US Supreme Court to consider Florida couple’s fight to use frozen assets for criminal defense”

July 1, 2013

The Washington Post on June 30, 2013 released the following:

“By Associated Press, Published: June 30

MIAMI — When Kerri and Brian Kaley came under federal investigation for allegedly stealing medical devices, they took out a $500,000 line of credit on their New York house to hire lawyers. Yet after their indictment in 2007, prosecutors sought to prevent the Kaleys from using the money because the government intended to seize the house.

The Kaleys insisted they were legally reselling the medical items. At the very least, they wanted a hearing to determine whether the government’s case was strong enough to justify freezing most of their assets and denying them the right to hire the attorney of their choice.

It’s an issue federal courts around the country are deeply divided over. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to settle the matter after agreeing earlier this year to hear the Kaleys’ appeal.

The case involves both the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause and the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, and could potentially affect thousands of cases each year in which the Justice Department seeks to seize defendants’ property. Such cases typically range from alleged drug dealers and Mafia figures to Ponzi schemers and Medicare fraudsters, but also could ensnare people who are wrongly accused.

To property rights advocates, the Kaleys’ case is an opportunity for the court to tip the scales of justice slightly more in the favor of defendants who are routinely deprived of their assets without being convicted. The ruling would not directly impact state courts, which operate under their own forfeiture laws, but lawyers could cite the Supreme Court decision to help a client.

“People who are indicted on criminal charges in the United States are presumed innocent,” said Larry Salzman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit law firm involved in forfeiture and property seizure cases nationwide. “Seizing their assets on the basis of an indictment alone turns the presumption of innocence on its head. It follows the rule of punishment first, evidence later.”

Prosecutors, however, say a grand jury’s decision to bring criminal charges shows the case has enough merit to enable them to freeze assets that may have been obtained through illegal activity.

In fiscal 2012, more than $4.2 billion was deposited in the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund. That compares with about $1.6 billion in each of the two previous years.

Prosecutors say adding a hearing to allow a defendant to attack the validity of the grand jury’s indictment would force prosecutors to prematurely lay out their case and might even endanger witnesses.

“No reason exists to think that an extra layer of procedure on that score — one that could be undertaken only at significant cost — would be beneficial, much less that it is constitutionally mandated,” the U.S. solicitor general’s office wrote in Supreme Court papers.

The office, which represents the administration of President Barack Obama before the Supreme Court, also asked the justices to settle the question nationally so there would be a single standard in federal courts.

The Kaleys, who live in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., have been battling the government for more than six years. They declined an interview request through their Miami-based attorneys, Howard Srebnick and Richard Strafer.

It all started when the Food and Drug Administration began an investigation in 2005 into what appeared to be a highly lucrative but unregulated market of resale of various medical devices, from hardware to sutures. The probe led investigators to a Delray Beach middleman in South Florida who was buying the devices from the Kaleys and others and then selling them to other medical providers. He did some $10 million in business in one year.

At the time, Kerri Kaley was a sales representative for Ethicon Endosurgery, a subsidiary of medical supplies giant Johnson & Johnson. She and her lawyers insist that she was legally allowed to resell the medical items she was given because Johnson & Johnson would not accept them as returns after a certain date and because hospitals wanted to clear out space for newer products. Hospitals also traded the older items for newer, free devices from the sales force.

Another sales representative, Jennifer Gruenstrass, was charged along with the Kaleys but went to trial separately. She was acquitted in November 2007. Gruenstrass’s assets were not frozen before the trial.

“There is a vibrant trading culture that exists between reps and between hospitals,” Gruenstrass’ attorney Robert Casale said. “Nobody is reporting a theft at any of the hospitals. Nobody at Ethicon is saying, ‘We were missing stuff.’ No theft.”

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald, said there was evidence the Kaleys and Gruenstrass knew what they were doing was illegal. For example, he said, Brian Kaley set up two shell construction businesses that actually acted as only conduits for the checks his wife was getting through the device sales. And, he said, the Kaleys hastily cleaned out their garage of the devices when they were first contacted by the FDA.

“Those were stolen devices,” Watts-Fitzgerald said. “She had no right, title and interest in any of the equipment they were selling.”

Still, the acquittal of Gruenstrass could indicate the Kaleys have a point in questioning the strength of the federal case. What they want from the Supreme Court is a chance to show that weakness to a federal judge so they can win access to the money they need to pay the lawyers they choose.

The $500,000 line of credit the Kaleys took out on their house was based on their lawyers’ estimate of their fees and expenses to take the case all the way through trial.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles cases from South Florida, said the Kaleys were only entitled to a hearing on whether their frozen assets were connected to the alleged crimes. Three other circuits have similar standards, while five others do require prosecutors to show at least some evidence of guilt.

The Kaleys face an eight-count indictment on conspiracy, transportation of stolen property, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges that carry maximum combined penalties of 85 years in prison. If convicted, they would likely lose their New York house and the $500,000 line of credit.

“With so much at stake in a criminal case, we believe due process requires a pretrial hearing to determine the propriety of the restraint of assets needed to retain counsel of choice at trial,” said Srebnick, one of the Kaley attorneys.

The criminal prosecution is on hold in federal court in West Palm Beach until the Supreme Court makes its decision. Oral arguments are not expected until October, with a ruling likely in late 2013 or early 2014.”

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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.


Former FBI Agent and Others Face Federal Criminal Charges Alleging Conspiracy, Honest Services Wire Fraud, Obstruction of Justice, and Obstructing an Agency Proceeding

October 22, 2012

Deseret News on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“Former FBI agent charged in military contract bribery case

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A former FBI agent faces federal charges for allegedly trying to derail a Utah-initiated investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative government security and energy contracts.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an 11-count indictment against Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass.; and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn. Each is charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.

Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off a criminal investigation into Taylor, owner of Boston-based American International Security Corp., according to the indictment. Authorities say the former agent used Thaler, a childhood friend, as a go-between.

The indictment charges that Taylor, a former Green Beret, offered Lustyik $200,000 in cash, money purportedly for the medical expenses of Lustyik’s minor child, and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.

In hearing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City last month, a federal prosecutor quoted Taylor telling Lustyik in a message, “If they don’t put me in jail, I’ll make you filthy, stinkin’ rich.”

According to the indictment, Lustyik, a 20-year FBI veteran, was assigned to counterintelligence work in White Plains, N.Y., until September 2012. The indictment states that from at least June 2011, the three men had a business relationship pursuing contracts for security services, electric power and energy development in the Middle East and Africa.

In September 2011, Taylor learned of a Utah-based federal criminal investigation into whether Taylor, his business and others bribed an Army officer to obtain a $54 million military training contract in Afghanistan.

Taylor and Christopher Harris, of St. George, were charged in a 72-count indictment in August with bribing a public official, accepting of a bribe by public official, money laundering and wire fraud. Taylor remains in jail in Utah pending trail.

Court records say it was Harris’ banking habits in St. George that opened the case for federal investigators three years ago.

Harris, who worked for Taylor as a manager in Afghanistan, was paid about $17.4 million by American International, according to court records. He tried to hide the money by structuring his transactions at America First Credit Union in St. George so he wouldn’t be detected by the bank’s warning mechanisms, the indictment states.

Lustyik impeded the investigation by designating Taylor as an FBI confidential source and texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Taylor, according to the indictment. He also interviewed witnesses and potential targets in the Utah investigation, authorities say.”

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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.


DuPont vs. Kolon fight results in indictments of top executives

October 19, 2012

Examiner.com on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“BY: JOEL HENDON

An FBI news release on Oct. 18, 2012 contains the latest developments in an ongoing legal fight over a suit filed by Dupont.

On Feb. 3, 2009, DuPont filed suit against Kolon for “for theft of trade secrets and confidential information” relating to its product, Heracron. After considerable legal moves and actions, on Sep. 14, 2011, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found in favor of DuPont who was awarded damages of $919.9 million. Kolon appealed, which now appears to have been a grave mistake.

The FBI press release explains the results of their investigation since that decision was made. They report that Kolon Industries Inc. and several of its executives and employees have been indicted for allegedly engaging in a multi-year campaign to steal trade secrets related to DuPont’s Kevlar para-aramid fiber and Teijin Limited’s Twaron para-aramid fiber. The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $225 million in proceeds from the alleged theft of trade secrets from Kolon’s competitors.

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Kolon was indicted by a grand jury in Richmond, Virginia. The indictment charges Kolon with one count of conspiring to convert trade secrets, four counts of theft of trade secrets, and one count of obstruction of justice.

“Kolon is accused of engaging in a massive industrial espionage campaign that allowed it to bring Heracron quickly to the market and compete directly with Kevlar,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “This country’s greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people. The genius of free enterprise is that companies compete on the excellence of their ideas, products, and services—not on theft. This indictment should send a strong message to companies located in the United States and around the world that industrial espionage is not a business strategy.” (FBI press release)

“By allegedly conspiring to steal DuPont’s and Teijin’s intellectual property, Kolon threatened to undermine an economic engine at both companies,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Developing Kevlar and Twaron was resource-intensive work and required strategic investment and ingenuity. Kolon, through its executives and employees, allegedly acted brazenly to profit off the backs of others. The Justice Department has made fighting intellectual property crime a top priority, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute IP crimes all over the country.” (Ibid)

“It’s critical that law enforcement aggressively investigate crimes of intellectual property theft, such as this one,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mazanec. “If not, intellectual creativity and our economy will be compromised. As a member of the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, our office will investigate any company, domestic or international, that steals confidential proprietary information for their own benefit. We will pursue those that prey on the originality and vision of hardworking businesses who conduct their own research, obtain patents, and market a successful product.” (Ibid)

Kolon makes a product called Heracron, which is a recent entrant into the para-aramid fiber market as a competitor to products called Kevlar and Twaron. Para-aramid fibers are used to make, for example, body armor, fiberoptic cables, and automotive and industrial products. Kevlar is produced by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), one of the largest chemical companies in the United States. For decades, Kevlar has competed against Twaron, a para-aramid fiber product produced by Teijin Limited, one of the largest chemical companies in Japan.

According to the indictment, from July 2002 through February 2009, Kolon allegedly sought to improve its Heracron product by targeting current and former employees at DuPont and Teijin and hiring them to serve as consultants, then asking these consultants to reveal information that was confidential and proprietary.

The indictment alleges that in July 2002, Kolon obtained confidential information related to an aspect of DuPont’s manufacturing process for Kevlar, and within three years, Kolon had replicated it. This successful misappropriation of DuPont’s confidential information, the indictment alleges, spurred Kolon leadership to develop a multi-phase plan in November 2005 to secure additional trade secret information from its competitors by targeting people with knowledge of both pre-1990 para-aramid technology and post-1990 technologies.

Kolon is alleged to have retained at least five former DuPont employees as consultants. Kolon allegedly met with these people individually on multiple occasions from 2006 through 2008 to solicit and obtain sensitive, proprietary information that included details about DuPont’s manufacturing processes for Kevlar, experiment results, blueprints and designs, prices paid to suppliers, and new fiber technology. In cases where the consultants could not answer Kolon’s specific and detailed questions, Kolon allegedly requested the consultants to obtain the information from current employees at DuPont.

In addition to the corporation itself, the following Kolon executives and employees from Seoul were charged with conspiring together to steal trade secrets and obstruction of justice for deleting information from their computers:

Jong-Hyun Choi, 56, was a senior executive overseeing the Heracron Business Team. He allegedly met with other top executives at Kolon to develop the directives to secure consultants and directly participated in carrying out the directives.

In-Sik Han, 50, managed Kolon’s research and development related to Heracron and was allegedly responsible for overseeing the “consulting” sessions with ex-DuPont employees.

Kyeong-Hwan Rho, 47, worked for Kolon for more than 25 years and served as the head of the Heracron Technical Team beginning in January 2008. He allegedly participated in the consulting sessions.

Young-Soo Seo, 48, reported to Choi and served as the general manager for the Heracron Business Team beginning in November 2006. He allegedly participated in the consulting sessions.

Ju-Wan Kim, 40, was a manager on the Heracron Business Team from September 2007 through February 2009 and reported to Seo. He was the main point of contact at Kolon for at least one of the ex-DuPont employees. He also participated in the consulting sessions.

The conspiracy and theft of trade secrets counts each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for individual defendants and a fine of $5 million or twice the gross gain or loss for the corporate defendant. The obstruction of justice count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for individual defendants and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for the corporate defendant.

The indictment seeks at least $225 million in forfeiture, which represents the approximate gross proceeds of the sale of Heracron from January 2006 through June 2012, along with $341,000 in payments made to former DuPont employees in exchange for trade secret information.”

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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.


Former Vincent Gray aide should avoid prison time, prosecutors say

September 11, 2012

The Washington Post on September 10, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber

A former aide to Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign should be sentenced to probation, not prison time, because he “took full responsiblity for his crimes and provided substantial assistance to the government,” federal prosecutors wrote in court papers filed Monday.

Howard Brooks, 64, pleaded guilty in May to making a false statement to an FBI agent about his activities in the mayoral campaign, admitting that he was instructed to make illegal payments to a fringe candidate assailing then-Mayor Adrian Fenty (D).

Gray, then the D.C. Council chairman, beat Fenty in the 2010 Democratic primary and cruised to a general election victory.

Another campaign aide, Thomas W. Gore, 56, has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and three misdemeanor charges of making of a campaign contribution in the name of another in the scame scheme.

Gore and Brooks have admitted to carrying out a scheme that illegaly diverted campaign funds to fringe candidate Sulaimon Brown so he could continue attacking Fenty.

No sentencing date has been set for Gore.

It is not clear what “substantial cooperation” Brooks provided federal authorities. Prosecutors disclosed details of that help under seal, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment on the case.”

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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.


Former BP Engineer, Kurt Mix, Trying to Clear His Name

June 13, 2012

Forbes on June 12, 2012 released the following:

Walter Pavlo, Contributor

“Kurt Mix, former drilling engineer who was arrested on April 24th, is trying to gain access to information that could clear his name. Mix is accused by federal prosecutors of deleting two (2) text messages from his iPhone that were related to the flow rate of oil from BP‘s Macondo well (Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill). The charge is obstruction of justice.

In a motion filed yesterday, Mix is asking for access to BP’s confidential (attorney client privileged information) files which he says will prove that he was not obstructing justice when he “may” have deleted those two messages. Where the government says that Mix “corruptly” destroyed two text messages, Mix’s attorney, Joan McPhee, states in her motion that at the time Mix was supposedly deleting the offending text messages, he was simultaneously “affirmatively cooperating” with the government’s investigation and disclosing the very same information (flow rate of oil into the Gulf of Mexico) that he is accused of deleting (texts). However, the information Mix needs is in the hands of his former employer, BP, and its lawyers. In other words, it is protected attorney-client information that BP is using to defend itself against fines it faces in federal court. Whereas BP’s fight to keep the information confidential is about money, Mix’s fight is to keep his freedom.

This case is more about the money than Kurt Mix deleting a few text messages. Mix’s ordeal is in the middle of the larger fight between BP and the US government on how much oil spilled. While no one will ever know the real figure, BP is seeking to minimize the amount spilled, and thus the subsequent fine under the Clean Water Act. BP is hoping for “only” a $15 billion penalty, while the U.S. is looking to get as much as $17.6 billion. Kurt Mix finds his case in this $2.6 billion difference.

Yesterday, BP lost a request to get e-mails from the White-House (Executive Branch) related to the oil spill. The government won its right to keep the e-mails confidential. BP’s lawyer Robert Gasaway said that keeping the documents private was “fundamentally unfair” because they address how much oil was being spilled and BP’s role in capping the well. So the U.S. government is allowed to withhold data from BP that discusses how much oil spilled, while Kurt Mix is accused of withholding (deleting) text messages associated with the same spill? In fact, there are no missing text messages, all the parties know the contents of the information that was deleted. The allegation is whether Mix deleted the messages with the intent of obstructing justice (illegal) ….or did he just delete the messages for the hell of it (not illegal). A jury might have to decide. I would put this case right there with other wasted prosecutions of John Edwards, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans has scheduled a trial for January 14, 2013 to determine blame of the spill. Perhaps the government should call off the dogs, drop the prosecution, on Kurt Mix and ask him to be a witness at that trial …. but BP might have a problem with that. How can the guy win?”

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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.


Attorneys for ex-BP engineer say ‘third-party’ evidence proves innocence

May 15, 2012

The Houston Chronicle on May 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Zain Shauk

Attorneys for a former BP engineer accused of deleting text messages about the size of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Monday an unnamed third party holds evidence that proves his innocence.

The attorneys for Kurt Mix, a 50-year-old drilling engineer from Katy, said the evidence is protected under the attorney-client privilege of a third party and “conclusively demonstrates” that Mix did not obstruct justice by deleting evidence, according to a motion filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

Lawyers for Mix, the only person so far to face criminal charges in connection with the BP spill, are asking the court to force disclosure of the evidence. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors charge that Mix deleted more than 200 text messages, including one specific message sent on May 26, 2010, that revealed he understood a proposed “top kill” operation to shut down the Macondo well would not work because of the size of the oil spill, according to a criminal complaint filed last month.

Mix’s attorneys argued the evidence from the undisclosed third party would refute the government allegations.

“That evidence establishes affirmatively that Mix had no intent to hide either flow rate or top kill information and that he in fact hid neither,” the attorneys’ motion said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined to comment.

According to the criminal complaint, Mix deleted strings of texts to his BP supervisor, the drilling engineering manager for the Gulf of Mexico, and an outside contractor. Mix’s attorneys, in their latest motion, disclosed what they said were records of text messages between Mix and the contractor, which contained no details about oil flows or spill response operations.

One of the specific messages in question, about the spill’s size and flow rate, was sent from Mix to his BP supervisor, according to the complaint.

BP had said publicly that oil was spewing out of the well at a pace of about 5,000 barrels a day and that a top kill operation was unlikely to succeed if the flow exceeded 15,000 barrels a day, according to the complaint. But Mix’s estimates, via email and text, were higher than BP’s public statements, the government says.

On the morning of May 26, 2010, BP commenced a top kill operation, according to the criminal complaint.

The text Mix allegedly sent to his BP supervisor at 10:25 p.m. on May 26 said, “Too much flowrate – over 15,000 and too large an orifice. Pumped over 12,800 (barrels) of mud today plus 5 separate bridging pills. Tired. Going home and getting ready for round three tomorrow.”

On May 28, BP said the top kill operation was proceeding as planned, then announced its failure the following day.

Although the government alleges that Mix deleted the texts from his iPhone, it has used much of the material that he preserved in the case against him, his attorney, Joan McPhee, has said. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

BP declined to 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

————————————————————–

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.