An attorney from Iranian-American businessman Bijan Kian said Friday in federal court that Kian would never be prosecuted for an illegal foreign agent ploy if he did not want to go to court. was not a business partner of Michael Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.
At a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, Kian's lawyer, Mark MacDougall, told Justice Anthony Trenga that Kian's case would have been resolved "civilly or administratively" without the fact that Kian was working with Flynn, who is cooperating with the office of special advocate Robert Mueller after pleading guilty. last year to a charge of false statement.
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Attorney James Gillis vigorously contested MacDougall's complaint, saying that Kian's actions, sometimes called Rafiekian, were so blatant that they would have been criminally prosecuted, regardless of any connection with Flynn.
"Even if Mr. Rafiekian did not have a business partner in this case, he would have been seized," insisted Gillis, US Deputy Attorney based in Alexandria.
Gillis said that Kian's case was serious because the lobbying he had engaged in was secretly undertaken at the request of "senior officials" of the Turkish government.
MacDougall noted the scarcity of prosecutions under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, noting that there have only been seven prosecutions in recent years. The argument echoed complaints by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also claimed he was singled out for lobbying abroad because he had the misfortune to to crossroads.
However, Gillis noted that Kian is accused not only of conspiring to violate FARA, but also of a more serious offense of acting in the United States as a non-registered agent from a foreign government. These charges are usually laid in cases considered to be closer to spying, but no military or national security secrets are involved.
The hearing nearly half an hour Friday morning confirmed that Flynn had provided information regarding various ongoing investigations, but few details about these probes. Prosecutors had asked the judge to delay Friday's hearing to allow the investigations to progress, but Trenga nevertheless ordered both parties to appear in court.
The court litigation was about the defense's request for access to 15 FBI reports known as 302 in Flynn's interviews in these other investigations, including the central question that Mueller is investigating. unlawful Russian influence on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Gillis said on Friday that the prosecution had shown Kian's defense information about Flynn's talks about secret lobbying for Turkey, but was reluctant to allow the defense to see reports on Flynn's statements. on Russia and on other issues examined by federal prosecutors.
At one point, Gillis said the reports covered not only cases investigated by Mueller's office, but also at least one other US Attorney's Office. However, after consulting with a colleague, Gillis said that it probably should not be too specific.
"There are other investigations that could be or could be hindered by the disclosure," said Gillis. "What we are opposed to is only a rough sketch of everything that the special council has produced."
The prosecutor said the government's reluctance to show the defense that these 302 were motivated by the desire to protect these investigations. He characterized the additional reports as "completely, completely unrelated" to the charges against Kian and insisted that the defense be informed of all the facts relevant to Kian's case or Flynn's credibility, even though the reports FBI were not disclosed.
"We do not try to hide the ball at all here," added Gillis.
MacDougall said it was doubtful that Flynn will continue to play an active role in other investigations, as Mueller's office sent a judge in Washington a report this week stating that the general's cooperation Retired army is "otherwise complete", beyond the hope that there key witness in the case of Kian.
MacDougall also pointed out that press reports indicated that Flynn had lied to investigators on various issues, including his contacts with Russians, and that he had received illegal payments for work for foreign governments without asking permission required for retired officers.
Kian's defense team also complained that, in order to gain access to the 302, the prosecution had proposed to the defense to waive various objections it might raise at trial, including the admission of e-mails. or texts related to the work that Flynn and Kian had done on Turkey. MacDougall stated that it would be a "malpractice" for the defense to accept these conditions.
At the end of the hearing, Trenga said he had trouble understanding exactly what was arguing, but he said he was "concerned" by the fact that the government insists that the Defense waives its rights in order to obtain access. to Kian records is constitutionally entitled to.
This prompted Gillis to rise from his seat and declare that he had not done so and would never do so and that the only conditions he was proposing were related to the defense efforts to obtain "global" access. to government records on Flynn.
Trenga said it was considering issuing a written order relating to the dispute.
Kian, who pleaded not guilty and is free pending trial, was not present at Friday's hearing. His trial is scheduled to open on July 15th.
Kamil Alptekin, a Turkish national also charged, is on the run.