The process is the punishment.
The Justice Department quietly dropped its FARA case against General Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian after a federal judge in 2019 tossed out the convictions because the government failed to offer substantial evidence.
A federal jury in July 2019 found General Flynn’s associate Bijan Rafiekian guilty of illegally lobbying for Turkey after just 4 hours of deliberation — but Federal Judge Anthony Trenga, a George W. Bush appointee, dismissed the indictment because of ‘insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.’
“The evidence was insufficient as a matter of law for the jury to convict Rafiekian on either count,” Judge Trenga previously wrote in a 39-page memorandum.
“There is no substantial evidence” that he agreed to cooperate subject to the direction/control of Turkey; no evidence of any implied agreement with Turkey.
“There is no evidence of discussions or suggestions, let alone an agreement, express or implied, to either avoid filing under FARA or to cause the filing of a false FARA registration statement,” Judge Trenga wrote.
After years of litigation and fighting the case in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the DOJ finally gave up and dropped its case.
“After carefully considering the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in this case and the principles of federal prosecution, the United States believes it is not in the public interest to pursue the case against defendant Bijan Rafiekian further,” federal prosecutors wrote, according to Politico.
The Justice Department has quietly abandoned one of the last prosecutions stemming from investigations into alleged foreign influence over Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In a court filing Monday, prosecutors indicated they’re giving up their long-running quest to convict Bijan Rafiekian, a California businessman and former business partner of Trump ally Michael Flynn, on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey amid Trump’s successful White House bid seven years ago.
It’s a bitter pill for prosecutors who convinced a jury in Alexandria, Va., to return two felony guilty verdicts against Rafiekian — better known as Kian — following a week-long trial in 2019 and only about four hours of deliberations. Rafiekian chose not to take the stand during the trial.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga — who presided over the trial — soon became convinced that the guilty verdicts were not justified by the evidence prosecutors presented. He set aside the verdicts two months later, prompting years of additional litigation that included two trips to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Rafiekian’s lawyer blasted the Justice Department after it dropped the case.
“The Justice Department has finally conceded that this case should never have been indicted,” defense lawyer Mark MacDougall said in a statement Monday.
“Mr. Rafiekian has been the target of baseless federal prosecution for the past five years, only because he made the poor decision to be in business with Michael Flynn. Along with his family and his lawyers, Bijan is particularly grateful to the Court for its unwavering commitment to equity and for ensuring that justice would be done,” MacDougall added.
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