Justice Department Drops Foreign Agent Case Against Michael Flynn’s Former Business Partner

The Justice Department on Monday dropped charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, who had been accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey.

Rafiekian, who worked for former President Donald Trump’s White House transition team and had been investigated during special counsel Robert Mueller’s extensive investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, was previously convicted of two felonies related to his alleged lobbying efforts abroad.

The convictions were overturned by U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga in 2019, and after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Trenga, he ordered a new trial for Rafiekian, which the government will not conduct. just.

“After carefully considering the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in this case and the principles of federal prosecution, the United States believes that it is not in the public interest to pursue the case against defendant Bijan Rafiekian,” federal prosecutors wrote in a motion to dismiss. presented. in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Bijan RafiekianRafiekian faced two felony charges related to an alleged lobbying scheme on behalf of the Turkish government as an unregistered agent.

Rafiekian’s case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning he can no longer be tried on the charges against him.

A lawyer for Trump’s former adviser celebrated the Justice Department’s decision while criticizing prosecutors for the 2018 indictment.

“The Department of Justice finally admitted that this case should never have been charged. Mr. Rafiekian has been the subject of a baseless federal prosecution for the past five years, solely because he made the poor decision to do business with Michael Flynn,” Mark MacDougall, Rafiekian’s attorney, said in a statement.

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Michael FlynnThe alleged lobbying effort took place while Rafiekian was working at a company founded by Michael Flynn. AP

The Justice Department alleged that Rafiekian and Flynn’s business entity, Flynn Intel Group, was acting on behalf of the Turkish government when it participated in a campaign advocating for the deportation of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is wanted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. , for his alleged participation in an attempted coup d’état.

Flynn pleaded guilty to felony false statement in 2017 and avoided charges in the foreign lobbying investigation after agreeing to testify against Rafiekian at trial, but was later found accomplice after failing to cooperate with the Justice Department.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr dropped the government’s case against Flynn in 2020, and Trump pardoned the retired general that same year.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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