How do FCPA defendants do with juries?
This isn’t scientific. But it looks like most juries convict about as fast as you can say ‘Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.’
Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez had a two-and-a-half week trial. The jury deliberated just five hours and convicted the defendants on all counts. Last week, Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Esquenazi to 15 years in prison and Rodriguez to seven years for their roles in the Haiti telco case.
It wasn’t the first FCPA trial to end with a quick verdict.
The Lindsey jury was sworn in on March 13 this year. Nearly two months later on May 9, deliberations began. On May 10, Lindsey Manufacturing, CEO Keith Lindsey, and CFO Steve K. Lee were convicted on all counts.
The trial of Gerald Green and his wife Patricia lasted thirteen days. Jury deliberations started on September 11, 2009 and ended the same day, with guilty verdicts on 21 counts.
Frederic Bourke’s trial lasted six weeks. The jury began deliberating at 11:30 am on July 8, 2009. It reached a verdict on July 10, just before 1 pm, convicting Bourke on an FCPA conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
An exception was the first Africa sting trial. It lasted two months. The jury deadlocked and after five days the judge sensibly declared a mistrial.
As some have said, the government’s sting operation probably turned the jurors off more than the idea of overseas bribery (which in this case didn’t really happen after all). And for the most part, the defendants weren’t big bosses. They were regular people trying to make a living. So the case is an outlier.
Those recently convicted by juries are all fighting the results and may yet win. But overturning a jury verdict is hard work with long odds.
What’s it all mean? That juries get the FCPA — no matter how complex or convoluted the facts of a particular case may seem. As we’ve said, juries don’t like overseas bribery by bigwig execs and will convict when given half a chance. And finally, that any FCPA defendants thinking about a jury trial should use history as a guide. It shows how speedy FCPA juries can be.