In a stunning move, a judge in the Eastern District of Virginia overturned the conviction of ex-business partner of former National Security Advisor Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Bijan Rafiekian, Tuesday who was charged earlier this year with undisclosed lobbying that prosecutors claimed was to ensure the extradition of a Muslim cleric living in the United States back to his homeland of Turkey.
Judge Anthony Trenga, who oversaw the case, stated in his 39 page acquittal decision that the evidence presented to the jury was insufficient to prove any type of conspiracy and based mainly on hearsay.
He noted in the decision that the “jury was not adequately instructed as to the role of Michael Flynn in light of the government’s in-court judicial admission that Flynn was not a member of the alleged conspiracy and the lack of evidence sufficient to establish his participation in any conspiracy; and there was a substantial danger that the jury drew inferences against Rafiekian with respect to the existence of and his participation in the alleged conspiracy based on a belief that Flynn could be regarded as a member of the alleged conspiracy.”
Trenga noted in his decision that the government’s use of information that was related directly to Flynn in an effort to convict Rafiekian was wrong and that the jury “was not adequately instructed as to the knowledge element necessary to convict Rafiekian of a violation of Section 951, as charged in Count II.”
Trenga listed a litany of reasons to acquit Rafiekian and stated, “for the reasons above, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to sustain either of Rafiekian’s convictions, and the Motion for Acquittal is therefore Granted.”
Rafiekian had been indicted on two criminal counts, including conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to the original unsealed indictment. A Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, was also charged in the indictment for allegedly plotting to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Muslim cleric, who currently lives in the U.S.
Flynn’s Defense Attorney Sidney Powell, who replaced Flynn’s former law firm, told SaraACarter.com said the prosecution’s actions against Rafiekian revealed extraordinary misconduct.
“Judge Trenga’s well-reasoned opinion reaches the only result that could be correct on the facts and the law in this case,” Powell said. “The prosecution was yet another attempt to criminalize an innocent business transaction. It was prosecutorial misconduct in more ways than one.”
Powell revealed a bombshell during Flynn’s in court last month. She noted the existence of a Justice Department memo from Jan. 30, 2017 exonerating Flynn of any collusion with Russia.
The memo, which has still not been made available, is part of a litany of Brady material she is demanding from prosecutors. The memo is currently under protective order and Powell is working with prosecutors to get it disclosed, SaraACarter.com has learned.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan who is presiding over Flynn’s case has set a tentative Dec. 18 sentencing date. He told the prosecution and defense that the sentencing date could be moved depending on the outcome of requests for Brady material requested by Powell and how the case will unfold in the upcoming months. Sullivan also noted during the hearing that the Brady order takes precedence over the plea agreement.