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Aguilar: Gov’t Misled Grand Jury

The Mexican woman on trial in Los Angeles for helping bribe a Mexican official has formally alleged that FBI agents and DOJ prosecutors never had enough evidence to charge her and misled the grand jury that indicted her.

Angela Aguilar, 53, who’s been held without bond since her arrest last August, wants the judge to acquit her when the government is done putting on its case.

In her written argument, Aguilar, who’s charged with money laundering, says there’s no evidence she knew about any alleged bribery using money from bank accounts she controlled with her husband. She also says the “government acted improperly in convincing the grand jury to return an indictment in the first place.”

The government says Aguilar and her husband helped arrange millions in bribes from California-based Lindsey Manufacturing to Nestor Moreno, an official at the Mexican state-owned electric utility Comisión Federal de Electridad. The bribes were allegedly paid in exchange for contracts from CFE.

Aguilar’s husband, Enrique Faustino Aguilar Noriega, has also been indicted but is still at large.

Aguilar’s co-defendants in the LA trial are Lindsey Manufacturing, Keith Lindsey, and Steve Lee. They were charged in an eight-count superseding indictment with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and FCPA violations.

On cross examination last week, FBI Special Agent Susan Guernsey admitted that some information she provided to the grand jury may have been wrong and she may have omitted some important facts.

She testified to grand juries in September and October last year that indicted Angela Aguilar and Lindsey Manufacturing Company, CEO Dr. Keith Lindsey, and CFO Steve K. Lee.

In a section of her brief headed “The Government Misled the Grand Jury,” Aguilar said:

As made clear from the trial testimony of co-case agent Susan Guernsey of the FBI, the government presented testimony to the grand jury both before the return of the original indictment and the first superseding indictment that was materially and admittedly false (or, to use Special Agent Guernsey’s words, “the events were a little bit different.”) What is now apparent is that the government never had any evidence to connect Angela Aguilar to the alleged money laundering scheme other than her signature on various financial documents; there never has been any evidence, direct or circumstantial, establishing her knowledge that the financial transaction in which she tangentially participated involved any criminally-derived proceeds.”

Defense lawyers expect the government to wrap up its case Tuesday morning. At that point — before the defendants begin presenting their evidence — the judge will hear motions for judgment of acquittal from Aguilar and probably her co-defendants.

Download a copy of Angela Aguilar’s motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the government’s evidence filed April 29, 2011 here.

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Judge A. Howard Matz is presiding over the Los Angeles case — U.S. v. Noriega et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Western Division – Los Angeles), Case #: 2:10-cr-01031-AHM-4.

Jan L. Handzlik of Greenberg Traurig is defending Lindsey Manufacturing and Dr. Keith Lindsey. Steve K. Lee is represented by Janet Levine of Crowell & Moring. Angela Aguilar is represented by Stephen G. Larson of Girardi | Keese.

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