Merchant of Death author seeks to avoid alleged Bout co-conspirator's trial
MOSCOW, November 26 (RAPSI) - The well-known co-author of the book Merchant of Death, which is said to profile Viktor Bout, filed a motion to quash a subpoena to testify in the trial of his alleged co-conspirator Richard Ammar Chichakli, according to court documents obtained by RAPSI.
According to recent court filings, Farah has been a journalist for almost three decades, focusing on global security issues. Farah’s website states that he is now a national-security consultant and analyst.
Farah authored the book Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible, which was published in 2008.
US prosecutors moved earlier this month to exclude the book, as well as the co-author’s media statements and Congressional testimony, amongst other items sought by Chichakli to be introduced as evidence.
A memo filed with the court by Farah’s attorneys Monday explains the court agreed, issuing an order on November 18 asserting that: “[i]f offered for the truth, the content of these documents are inadmissible hearsay… Absent a showing by Chichakli of a nonhearsay purpose, these documents are precluded.”
The memo goes on to state that Chichakli served Farah with a subpoena to testify at a hearing or trial in the case on November 22.
The document goes on to state, “The court should quash the subpoena to testify for the same reason it has already rejected defendant’s attempt to admit Mr. Farah’s writings, interviews and Congressional testimony into evidence: Mr. Farah’s testimony would be based on inadmissible hearsay.”
The memo further raises the special legal protections awarded to journalists under New York’s Shield Law and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
According to the document, the New York Shield Law “affords absolute protection of a reporter’s confidential material and sources and qualified protection for non-confidential material and sources.”
The First Amendment of the US Constitution provides for the freedoms of speech and the press, stating in relevant part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”
Furthermore, the memo notes that Farah has a long-standing commitment to conduct a specialized training with the US National Security Agency (NSA) on December 3, and expects to be out of the country until December 14, 2013. Thus Farah requested the court to quash the subpoena, or to at least adjourn its return date to sometime after his return from NSA training.
Chichakli, who has both Syrian and US citizenship, was arrested in Australia on January 9 based on a request filed by US authorities. He was then extradited to the US to face charges connected with allegations that he conspired with Viktor Bout and others in order to violate the IEEPA, according to a statement released in May by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
According to a superseding indictment filed in late October, Chichakli faces one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.