Protection in ‘Fats Leonard’ Case Says Prosecutors Knew Agent Made Inaccurate Assertion in Prior Case

Because the jury within the “Fats Leonard” trial deliberates the destiny of 5 former officers charged with bribery, protection attorneys made new allegations that federal prosecutors have been improperly withholding proof that would assist their case.

In a movement filed Friday, attorneys for the 5 mentioned that they uncovered info {that a} federal agent who was key within the sprawling investigation of army contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, often known as “Fats Leonard” for his immense dimension, made inaccurate statements in a sworn arrest warrant affidavit in a strikingly comparable case a yr in the past.

At a quick courtroom listening to Tuesday, lead prosecutor Assistant U.S. Legal professional Mark Pletcher didn’t handle the accusations and advised U.S. District Courtroom Choose Janis Sammartino the federal government would write a response to the movement.

It’s the newest allegation from protection attorneys about prosecutorial misconduct within the trial that started in February.

The defendants — former Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless; former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman; and former Cmdr. Mario Herrera — are charged with conspiracy, bribery and fraud. They’re accused of accepting bribes from Francis and in return serving to his Singapore-based ship servicing enterprise, Glenn Protection Marine Asia, or GMDA. Francis pleaded responsible and admitted defrauding the federal government out of not less than $35 million.

The statements by Protection Prison Investigative Companies Particular Agent Cordell DeLaPena got here within the unrelated prosecution of Frank Rafaraci, the chief govt of Multinational Logistics Service, or MLS, which like Francis’ firm, contracts with the U.S. Navy to service ships in overseas ports.

Rafaraci was initially charged in September 2021 with bribery of a Navy official and defrauding the federal government out of not less than $50 million by means of inflated invoices between 2011 and 2018.

In an affidavit for his arrest, DeLaPena made a collection of incorrect statements concerning the fraudulent billing, based on courtroom information in Rafaraci’s case.

When protection attorneys for Rafaraci complained the statements have been incorrect, attorneys for the Division of Justice agreed in a movement collectively filed with the protection in March that the statements have been “factually inaccurate.”

The DOJ took the bizarre step of then asking a federal decide to not solely strike the criticism, but additionally take away solely from the official docket the incorrect affidavit. However the decide within the case declined to take away the affidavit and as a substitute ordered the incorrect paragraphs to be redacted.

Rafaraci, whose case was promoted by the DOJ as a significant case of fraud that echoed the GDMA case, ended up being indicted on a single depend of bribery. The fraud allegations weren’t a part of the indictment. He pleaded responsible to the bribery cost in April and is awaiting sentencing.

The concession that DeLaPena had made inaccurate statements within the Rafaraci case was made in motions filed on March 23 in federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., based on the courtroom docket there.

DeLaPena testified within the Fats Leonard case in San Diego in April, however protection attorneys mentioned within the movement filed Friday that prosecutors didn’t disclose the earlier inaccurate statements to them.

Robert Boyce, the lawyer for Lausman, wrote within the newest movement that not disclosing the incorrect statements earlier than DeLaPena testified violated authorized necessities that obligates prosecutors at hand over any info and proof they’ve that may be favorable to the protection.

Attorneys for the opposite defendants joined in Boyce’s movement, which argued that the details about DeLaPena’s conduct within the Rafaraci case might have been utilized by protection attorneys to assault his credibility as a witness, and your entire investigation.

DeLaPena investigated the Fats Leonard case for a decade, and testified that he had reviewed hundreds of thousands of paperwork, Boyce wrote. “He testified he was intimately accustomed to Mr. Francis’s fraud scheme and had a deep understanding of the case towards the defendants,” he wrote.

DeLaPena had already come beneath scrutiny within the San Diego trial for his function in an effort to get overseas prostitutes, who the federal government says have been supplied to a number of the officers at Francis’ expense years in the past, to come back to San Diego to testify.

In a unprecedented mid-trial listening to referred to as to find out if that info additionally had been improperly withheld from the protection, DeLaPena was talked about in an electronic mail message between different brokers as wanting to supply “reward cash” to one of many ladies for testifying. The proof included an electronic mail from DeLaPena in reply which mentioned “$$ enroute.”

Sammartino has not but issued any written rulings on earlier protection motions. The federal government has been accused of concealing proof that Francis and one other cooperating witness have been discovered with youngster pornography on their computer systems however not prosecuted in trade for pleading responsible and cooperating. Additionally at concern have been statements from a prostitute that she didn’t have intercourse with Lausman, although the federal government contended she did.

The jury has thus far deliberated for six days.

The jury mentioned on Thursday it had reached a verdict on some costs, however not others. They have been alleged to reconvene Tuesday however didn’t deliberate as a result of two jurors couldn’t attend attributable to well being points.

This story initially appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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