It was a long time coming, but justice has been done.
— Jan Handzlik, attorney for the Lindsey defendants
Federal District Judge Howard Matz on Tuesday dismissed with prejudice the indictment against Lindsey Manufacturing, Keith Lindsey, and Steve K. Lee, ending the prosecution of one of the biggest FCPA cases ever.
The judge in Los Angeles said government misconduct ‘included providing false information to obtain a search warrant, making unauthorized searches, and providing incorrect testimony to a grand jury,’ according to Bloomberg’s report.
The Lindsey defendants and Lee were each convicted by a federal jury in May of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and five substantive FCPA offenses.
The government said they paid millions in bribes to Nestor Moreno, an official at the Mexican state-owned electric utility Comisión Federal de Electridad, in exchange for contracts.
Following Tuesday’s hearing, Jan Handzlik told the FCPA Blog: “In the 38-page tentative order provided to the parties today, Judge Matz said the convictions should be thrown out and the indictment dismissed with prejudice. The judge told the parties he would make some revisions to the tentative order and enter the final order tomorrow.”
A dismissal of the indictment with prejudice means the defendants cannot be tried again for the same offenses. If the judge’s final order is consistent with the tentative order, the government’s only option will be to appeal the dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Another defendant in the case, Angela Aguilar, a Mexican citizen, was convicted of conspiracy to launder money. Her husband, Enrique Faustino Aguilar Noriega, of Cuernavaca, Mexico, was charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, four substantive FCPA violations, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. He’s a fugitive in Mexico.
After her conviction, Aguilar accepted a sentencing deal with the DOJ. It called for time served (about nine months in custody without bail since her arrest in Houston), a probationary sentence, immediate release from prison and return to Mexico, and no fine, but she agreed not to contest the government’s seizure of about $3 million in family assets.
The Lindsey and Lee defendants had argued that prosecutors ‘engaged in a course of misconduct that was both flagrant and prejudicial.’
In July, Lindsey defense counsel Handzlik told us: “Individually, several of these transgressions [by the prosecutors] would justify dismissal. Considered on a cumulative basis, however, the unfairly prejudicial impact of this conduct was extraordinarily damaging.”
Judge A. Howard Matz presided over the 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.