US prosecutors oppose acquittal request by Bout's accused co-conspirator
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MOSCOW, February 17 (RAPSI) – US prosecutors have objected to a motion by Richard Chichakli, alleged co-conspirator of Viktor Bout, seeking an acquittal, a new trial, or a stay of judgment in the aftermath of a December conviction in US federal court, according to court documents filed Friday.
Chichakli, a citizen of both the US and Syria, was convicted in December of 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.
In paperwork filed earlier this month, Chichakli moved for acquittal, a new trial, or a stay of judgment, alleging that there had been insufficient evidence to convict Chichakli on any count, that Chichakli deserves a retrial in the interest of justice, and that the government’s superseding indictment had failed to state a charge.
With regard to the interest of justice argument, Chichakli’s documents stated that thought he had acted as his own attorney, he was denied access to a laptop containing upwards of two terabytes of trial-preparation material during the course of ten days spent in solitary confinement.
He had no access to paper discovery for a week within that time frame, and only had access to 85% of such documents after regaining access to them.
He was also quite ill during his time in solitary. According to the document, which was drafted by his stand-by counsel: “He was vomiting, he lost weight and he was denied religious services for the time he was in the SHU. Mr. Chichakli was very sick, dehydrated and crying when visited by both a paralegal and Stand By Counsel. Yet, the Court ordered the trial to go forward because Mr. Chichakli and the Government wanted to go forward as scheduled on November 19, 2013.”
The stand-by counsel noted that he had objected to moving forward with the trial as planned, and now moves for a new trial.
Prosecutors filed a memo this week opposing Chichakli’s motion for acquittal and a new trial.
Launching into the relevant-facts portion, prosecutors asserted: “The evidence at trial overwhelmingly demonstrated that the defendant conspired with Viktor Bout and others to obtain airplanes and related aircraft services from companies in the United States on behalf of Samar Airlines, an airline company based in Tajikistan controlled by the defendant and Bout. These transactions violated economic sanction laws against the defendant and Bout.”
Arguing among other things that the prosecution presented a broad range of sufficient evidence at trial and that the superseding indictment was not defective, prosecutors moved to deny the motions in their entirety.