After 12 weeks of grueling trial before Judge Leon in DC, he tosses the conspiracy charges:
A federal judge presiding over a landmark foreign bribery case in Washington, D.C., dismissed conspiracy charges against six defendants Thursday, exonerating one of them entirely.But our man Calli certainly did:
The ruling is a major setback for the Department of Justice, which has touted the case as an example of its efforts to get tough on foreign corruption. The trial, which began in September, is the second in a series of criminal trials to arise from a Federal Bureau of Investigation sting operation targeting corruption in the military equipment industry.
In an unusual procedural move, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Thursday threw out the conspiracy counts after 12 weeks of trial, saying there wasn't enough evidence to justify sending the charges to the jury to decide, according to court transcripts seen by Dow Jones Newswires.
Leon's ruling meant that defendant Stephen G. Giordanella, who was accused only of conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, was exonerated entirely. The remaining five defendants still face counts of substantive violations of the FCPA, a 34-year-old law that prohibits bribes to foreign officials to win business.
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
Giordanella's lawyer, Paul Calli, said he was grateful the court had made the "correct and just ruling."
"Mr. Giordanella was innocent and should have never been accused in the conspiracy," Calli said. "In many respects, the DOJ's fake Gabon conspiracy represents a prosecution at its most dangerous. He's grateful to be exonerated and to begin putting this behind him."Congratulations!