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Retrial In Africa Sting Case Set for May 2012

Judge Richard J. Leon on Wednesday reset the date for the retrial of the first four Africa sting defendants. 

Andrew Bigelow, Pankesh Patel, John Benson Wier III, and Lee Allen Tolleson will be retried in federal court in Washington, D.C. (pictured above) starting on May 29.

Their first trial ended in July last year when Judge Leon declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked for five days.

In mid November, Judge Leon denied the defendants’ motion for acquittal.

They face an FCPA conspiracy count and multiple substantive FCPA charges.

Judge Leon in December dismissed all conspiracy counts against six other defendants in the case. He said there wasn’t enough evidence to sustain a conspiracy conviction.

His ruling resulted in the outright acquittal of Stephen G. Giordanella, who was on trial only for conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Five other defendants also had the conspiracy charge dismissed but still face substantive FCPA counts. They are R. Patrick Caldwell, John Mushriqui, Jeana Mushriqui, John Godsey, and Marc Morales. Their trial is ongoing.

Twenty-two defendants were indicted in December 2009 in the largest prosecution of individuals ever under the FCPA.

The indictments followed a two-and-a-half year undercover sting operation by the DOJ and involved about 150 FBI agents. All but one defendant was arrested in Las Vegas during an annual trade show for military and law enforcement equipment companies.

Prosecutors alleged that the defendants tried to bribe the defense minister of Gabon, Africa to win contracts to provide body armor, weapons, and military gear. U.S. government agents posed as officials from Gabon.

Three defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to FCPA conspiracy or substantive charges. Haim Geri, Daniel Alvirez, and Jonathan Spiller haven’t been sentenced yet.

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