Bloomberg News

Second Foreign Bribe Sting Trial Ends With Acquittals, Hung Jury

February 01, 2012

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The second trial in the biggest U.S. prosecution of individuals accused of foreign bribery ended with acquittals of two defendants and a mistrial for three security industry executives.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington yesterday declared a mistrial after jurors said they couldn’t agree on charges alleging the three remaining defendants planned to make payments to a federal agent posing as a representative of the west African country of Gabon.

The ruling came one day after the same jury acquitted two others in the case, including a former deputy assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service.

The three remaining defendants in the trial were John Mushriqui and his sister, Jeana Mushriqui, and Marc Morales. Each was charged with two to three counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison. They pleaded not guilty.

Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the ruling or whether prosecutors plan to retry Morales and the Mushriquis.

Lawyers for the three defendants didn’t immediately return e-mail messages yesterday seeking comment on the case.

The trial, which opened Sept. 28, was the second in a 22- defendant kickback conspiracy case stemming from a fake $15 million weapons deal. A trial of four others arrested in the sting ended in a mistrial in July after a jury failed to agree on a verdict.

The case is U.S. v. Goncalves, 09-cr-00335, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

--With assistance from Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles. Editors: Michael Hytha, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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