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2 Others Charged In Conspiring To Bribe A Minnesota Juror Plead Not Guilty – One America News Network

NEWS HEADLINES: 2 Others Charged In Conspiring To Bribe A Minnesota Juror Plead Not Guilty – One America News Network

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(Photos via: Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
5:45 PM – Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Two of the five individuals accused of plotting to bribe a juror in Minnesota with a bag of $120,000 cash in exchange for the defendants’ acquittal in one of the country’s largest COVID-19-related fraud cases entered a not-guilty plea on Wednesday.

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Abdulkarim Shafii Farah and Said Shafii Farah were arraigned in Minneapolis before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung. One count each of conspiring to bribe a juror, bribing a juror, and corruptly influencing a juror is brought against them. Leung, citing threats to the fundamental elements of the legal system, ordered the detention of both men pending trial.

Last week, a third co-defendant entered a not-guilty plea. 

“In my decades on the bench, I’ve not experienced an attempt at bribing a juror in such a precalculated, organized, and executed way,” Leung said. “That to me goes to the heart of an attack on our judicial system, on the rule of law.”

Lawyers for Said and Abdulkarim asked Leug to consider releasing them before the trial with certain conditions, saying that the law sets no presumption of detention in the charges that they are facing and also saying that both men had significant ties to the community that would prevent them from escaping.

Juror bribery, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Thompson, is “nearly unprecedented” in its rarity. 

Leung said that both men’s detention was necessary because their threats against the rule of law put the community at risk.

Court records made available to the public last week exposed the plot in which the defendant tracked the juror’s daily routine, purchased a GPS device to be installed in her car, surveilled her, and looked up her personal information on social media. 

Authorities have surmised that the defendants singled out the woman, referred to as “Juror 52,” because they thought she was the only person of color on the panel and that she was the youngest.

According to the FBI, the juror called the police after Ali allegedly visited her home, gave the juror’s relative a gift bag containing $120,000 in cash, and said there would be more money if the juror voted to acquit. Before the jury’s deliberations started, the juror was removed from the case.

The remaining three individuals, Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, and Ladan Mohamed Ali, are accused of bribery-related offenses. Due to the fact that he recently hired a new lawyer, Abdiaziz Farah—who is also accused of one count of obstruction of justice—will not be arraigned until July 10th. Nur has not yet had a hearing, and Ali entered a not-guilty plea last week.

In the fraud trial last month, Said Farah and one other individual were found not guilty, but Abdiaziz Farah and Abdimajid Nur were two of the five found guilty. Ali and Abdulkarim Farah were not involved.

According to authorities, the scheme involved the theft of over $250 million in federal funds, of which only about $50 million has been recovered. Prosecutors claim that Abdiaziz Farah sent millions of dollars worth of pilfered money to Kenya, where he spent it on a twelve-story apartment complex in Nairobi.

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