However, three months later when U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Treng overturned the verdicts and acquitted Rafikian, Rafikian’s fortunes made a U-turn, ruling that the admissible evidence in the case was insufficient to continue the jury’s clear conclusion in the project. Order of the Turkish Government.
Trenga said the evidence was too ject hazardous to be linked to Turkish authorities to dispel reasonable doubt in the case.
However, the three appellate judges seemed to believe that the government had an appropriate contextual case against Rafiqian. A judge, James Vine Jr., said it was almost always difficult to come up with direct evidence of foreign government control in a case that allegedly made it look like ordinary lobbying on behalf of a foreign business.
“If you’re going to make a case like this, I prove, these are not easy cases to prove,” said President Barack Obama’s appointee Vine. “You have to rely on reasonable suspicion. Rarely do you have an agent come up and testify, the country has told me to do something and so I’m working with them. If you’ve going to do this, it’s going to be this way.”
Flynn’s team and Turkish national Ekim Alptekin prepared for the Turkish authorities before signing the contract for the Alptekin company, saying that the work that Flynn said the wine and other judges were doing for the Dutch company was virtually equivalent to a proposal.
“It’s a very strong thing because it looks so bad,” Wine added. “This is the same person and you are doing the same thing. … I do not see how you can say that the jury did not connect the two.”
“Parallel projects are coincidental – part of contextual evidence,” said Judge Paul Niemeyer, President George HW Bush’s appointee. “It’s all a little funny.”
Rafiqian’s attorney, James Taisse, said criminal charges should not come up on suspicion that Americans are acting on the orders of a foreign government unless some sort of conspiracy is involved.
“This is a government strategy in the investigation, to indicate that a lot of funny things are happening, but in the end he did not show that he was working in the direction of Turkey or under Turkish control, because there is a need to show that some foreign official was actually involved in going along with the instructions,” Taisey said.
Jewish groups occasionally raise concerns about the aggressive enforcement of U.S. foreign agent laws because Jewish Americans often lobby on issues related to Israel, but regularly engage with Israeli authorities.
The Court of Appeals argued that Flynn’s critics were eager to follow up his presidential apology last month: the former national security adviser had to swear about his actions, now that he can no longer exercise his right against self – indictment. During his trial, Flynn was expected to testify against Rafikian, but prosecutors fired him at the last minute after allegations of change in Flynn’s contradictory evidence led to a serious row with Flynn’s new lawyers.
“If this case goes back for a new trial, you can call [Flynn] Now? Vine asked.
“Presumably, your honor,” Tyssey said. “We could not have called him earlier because we had a chance to take a fifth, but now he’s been forgiven.”
In May, Rafikian’s lawyers wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr, bringing in special attorney Robert Mueller Flynn in 2017 seeking to review Rafikian’s case in light of the bar’s decision to drop a criminal false-statement case. For an unrelated FBI interview when Flynn admitted the charge, Flynn pleaded guilty to submitting false information to the Justice Department about his work in Turkey.
Despite a request from Rafiqian’s defense, the Justice Department stepped in with its efforts to revive the case against the California businessman, George W. Bush, on the board of the Export-Import Bank before liaising with Flynn. Bush served as recruiter.
The appellate judges did not issue any decision Friday. It was not clear from the argument session whether the panel would return the erroneous verdicts or send the case back to Trenga, while at the same time allowing the judge to give Rafikian a fresh trial, he said the acquittal would be granted if the appeal was dismissed on appeal.
Two judges on the appeals panel expressed doubts about being fair at last year’s hearing. Trenga allowed extensive hearing evidence in the form of emails, while at the same time warning judges about the limitations on the use of that evidence. He later concluded that the jury had ignored his instructions.
Obama-appointed Judge Barbara Keenan said, “I’m very concerned about this case. I think Judge Treng is a good judge and he really came out of this trial.”
It is unclear whether the government will seek a second trial with Flynn’s wild card of evidence.
Rafiqian, who served as an adviser to the Trump transition team after the 2016 election, believes Flynn is a political salesman for the prosecution – Trump could apologize within five weeks of taking office. Rafiqian’s lawyers declined to comment on the possibility.