Miami, Fla. - The first trial in the FCPA Gabon “sting” ended in a mistrial when the jury hung. The second trial resulted in the acquittal of Mr. Giordanella by Judge Leon and the acquittal of two other defendants by the jury. The jury hung as to the remaining defendants.
In a previous news update, it was noted that the Department of Justice was considering abandoning its case as to the remaining defendants. In a motion filed yesterday, the Government asked that its case against all remaining defendants be dismissed.
In that motion to dismiss, the government explained that it had considered:
1. the acquittal of Mr. Giordanella and others, along with the hung juries in the first two trials;
2. the impact of certain evidentiary and legal rulings by Judge Leon; and
3. the substantial government and judicial resources to pursue what would be at least four more trials.
The government’s motion to dismiss comes on the heels of losses in other recent FCPA cases and amid much criticism and coverage in the media. According to a news article in Law360, Judge Leon said, “this appears to be the end of a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal history. It is my hope that this very long and I’m sure very expensive ordeal will be a true learning experience for both the department and the FBI.”
As reported in a blog post by the FCPA Professor Judge Leon also said, "I’m happy to see and I applaud the Department for having the wisdom and courage of its convictions to face up to the limitations of its case ... and the courage to do the right thing under the circumstances. Having served at the higher levels of the Department, I know that that was not an easy decision. I for one however am confident this will be in the end a positive, if not painful, lesson that results in better prosecutions of individuals in the future under the FCPA. As for the defendants, I hope the healing process is a swift one and that they get back to their normal lives in the very near future.
"Finally, I would be remiss if I did not comment on the tireless and spirited effort by the defense counsel from all over the country who came here to try these very lengthy and complicated cases under difficult circumstances and some even pro bono. Their hard work and effective advocacy are a testament to how strong our criminal defense bar is nationwide."
READ: WSJ Letter to the Editor, “Putting the ‘Justice’ Back in the Justice Department”
White Collar Crime Prof Blog: “More on the Dismissal of FCPA Sting Case” – quotes Carlton Fields Shareholder Stephen Bronis
WSJ “Justice's Bribery Racket” (subscription required)
LISTEN: NPR "Justice Department Drops Foreign Bribery Case"