The first shot-show defendants are in federal court in Washington, D.C., where jury selection started today.
The government divided the original 22 defendants into four groups to make the trials more manageable. In the first group are Pankesh Patel, John Wier III, Andrew Bigelow, and Lee Tolleson.
For background on the defendants, see our post here.
The government charged them with plotting to bribe the minister of defense for Gabon to sell military and law enforcement products. But the scheme was part of an FBI undercover operation and no foreign official was actually involved.
The defendants were charged in a 44-count superceding indictment with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, violating the FCPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aiding and abetting. They also face a forfeiture count.
At least three of the defendants have already pleaded guilty.
Haim Geri pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He faces 18 to 24 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date wasn’t set. He lives in Miami.
In September last year, Richard Bistrong, the key intermediary between the FBI and the shot-show defendants, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other statutes. He’s waiting to be sentenced.
BLT said a defense filing Thursday alleged that the “prosecution is built entirely around an irredeemably corrupt con-man, Richard Bistrong, and that, by mishandling him and by other misconduct, the government allowed Bistrong to contaminate every aspect of the operation.”
Prosecutors said Saturday that claims of alleged governmental misconduct in an investigation are matters left to a judge, not a jury, according to BLT.