April 16, 2024
This picture from the Glenn Protection Marine Asia web site exhibits employees tending to a Navy ship. The Singapore-based protection contractor is embroiled in a fraud case.

4 former U.S. Navy officers convicted in San Diego of accepting bribes from international protection contractor Leonard Glenn “Fats Leonard” Francis pleaded responsible to misdemeanor prices Wednesday, which resulted in quick sentences that carried no jail time and $100 fines every.

After arguing in court docket filings that their felony convictions for bribery, fraud and conspiracy must be overturned as a result of prosecutorial misconduct, former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan, David Lausman and former Cmdr. Mario Herrera accepted plea offers that vacated their prior convictions and had the ex-officers sentenced to agreed-upon phrases that included no custody, probation or restitution.

Following the previous officers’ trial, protection attorneys filed a flurry of motions that alleged prosecutors withheld proof from the protection and prepped witnesses to supply false testimony.

U.S. District Choose Janis Sammartino, who presided over the trial, accepted the plea agreements reached between the events, however not earlier than excoriating the prosecution.

“These allegations have by no means been responded to by the federal government,” Sammartino mentioned throughout Wednesday’s change of plea listening to. “Somewhat than reply, the federal government has moved this court docket to respect a negotiated decision of a misdemeanor plea and to dismiss these defendants from the indictment and vacate every defendant’s counts of conviction that occurred on this case. The one cheap inference from this request is that the allegations can’t and won’t be justified or ever defended by the federal government.”

She additional echoed the protection attorneys’ findings that “the conduct by the federal government on this case can solely be described as outrageous.”

The sprawling prosecution largely resulted in plea offers for dozens of different defendants, together with Francis, who spent years on home arrest in San Diego earlier than he absconded from his residence and fled the nation.

Prosecutors mentioned Francis plied the officers with fancy lodge stays, meals and prostitutes, and in return acquired categorised Navy info and had ships steered to ports his ship husbanding firm managed, which allowed him to overbill the Navy by thousands and thousands.

The 4 officers and former Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless had been the one defendants who went to trial. Jurors convicted the 4 males, however had been unable to succeed in verdicts in opposition to Loveless, whose prices had been additionally later dismissed by prosecutors.

Among the many misconduct allegations that sprung up had been an accusation that prosecutors withheld statements from a prostitute who instructed federal brokers she didn’t have intercourse with Lausman, regardless of the prosecution alleging she did.

Sammartino later dominated the actions constituted “flagrant misconduct” however declined a protection request to dismiss the case.

Robert Boyce, who represented Lausman, mentioned a prosecutor made that allegation in opposition to his consumer throughout opening statements and “continued that false narrative realizing that it was false as a result of that was probably the most salacious accusation in opposition to (Lausman.)”

Protection attorneys additionally alleged a federal agent who testified within the trial made inaccurate statements in his arrest warrant affidavit in an unrelated however related bribery case, however that was by no means disclosed to the protection.

The attorneys argued in court docket filings that the agent lied on the stand about the place he acquired onerous drives containing paperwork the prosecution used as proof of their case. Protection attorneys allege these onerous drives got here from considered one of Francis’ workers and contained doctored paperwork.

The protection additionally argued that prosecutors hid the character of Francis’ residing situations whereas he was on home arrest, which tainted his cooperation with the federal government.

“They represented to us that he was residing like a monk in a cell, when in truth he was residing a lavish way of life in a mansion,” mentioned Joseph Mancano, Newland’s lawyer.

In a movement filed final yr, protection attorneys wrote, “Mr. Francis actually seen the federal government as a key participant in assuring his continued enjoyment of his luxurious way of life and lax safety association. This gave Mr. Francis a really quick and appreciable incentive to maintain his perceived benefactor joyful, and is persuasive proof establishing Mr. Francis’s bias in favor of the federal government.”

Newland, Dolan, and Herrera pleaded responsible to misdemeanor counts of exposing confidential info, whereas Lausman pleaded responsible to destruction of presidency property for destroying a pc onerous drive.

Whereas the circumstances in opposition to the 4 officers have come to an in depth, plenty of different former Navy officers who pleaded responsible to varied prices nonetheless await sentencing. Francis, who was arrested in Venezuela shortly after his escape from San Diego, additionally awaits extradition to america.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.