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Politics: ‘stuff That Happens In Mob Movies’: Judge, Prosecutor, And

POLITICS: ‘Stuff that happens in mob movies’: Judge, prosecutor, and defense astonished after juror given $120,000 bag of cash – and promised more – to acquit pandemic fraud defendants

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The post ‘Stuff that happens in mob movies’: Judge, prosecutor, and defense astonished after juror given $120,000 bag of cash – and promised more – to acquit pandemic fraud defendants first appeared on USSA News | The Tea Party’s Front Page.. Visit USSANews.com.

FILE — The office of Feeding Our Future is seen, Jan. 27, 2022, in St. Anthony, Minn., a week after an FBI raid. (Shari L. Gross/Star Tribune via AP, File)

A juror in a sprawling, massive, multi-defendant federal conspiracy and wire fraud case was sent home after telling the judge they were offered a six-figure bribe in exchange for a vote to acquit.

The juror told U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel that they even received an unwanted $120,000 in cash as a down payment for would-be services rendered — with a promise of more to come.

“This is completely beyond the pale,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson told the judge on Monday morning, according to a courtroom report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “This is outrageous behavior. This is stuff that happens in mob movies.”

The underlying incident happened on Sunday, the prosecutor reportedly explained. The cash drop occurred when the juror, a 23-year-old woman, was out of the house. The juror said the bag of cash was left with her father-in-law by an unknown woman and that another bag of cash would be similarly dropped off if the juror votes to acquit the defendants remaining in the present iteration of the case.

After learning about the offer, the juror immediately called police in Spring Lake Park — a small suburb of Minneapolis — and turned the cash over to authorities, Thompson told the judge.

The acquit-for-cash gambit quickly impacted the jury and defendants.

The juror in question was dismissed from her service; the other jurors empaneled to sit in judgment on the case were sequestered.

“I don’t do it lightly,” Brasel said. “But I want to ensure a fair trial.”

As for the defendants, the judge ordered FBI agents to confiscate their cellular phones. The judge withheld ruling on a state motion to detain the defendants due to overseas connections and flight risks.

The remaining 17 jurors in the case — 12 jurors and five alternates — were then questioned by the judge one after another to ensure they had not experienced any kind of undue influence throughout the case so far, according to the Star Tribune. Each juror said they had not.

Vast in scope of prosecution, evidence, and alleged criminality, the current case is the first of likely several trials over what the government claims is one of the largest pandemic-related fraud cases in U.S. history. A total of 70 defendants stand accused of federal program bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, false statements on documents, and other charges related to a $250 million effort to bilk the public under the auspices of a charity that provided nutritious meals to low-income children.

Prosecutors say only nominal amounts of money made their way to those in need, while various corporate entities siphoned funds that were largely spent on luxury cars, gold jewelry and lakefront property.

The sequestration order comes late in the proceedings: the trial itself has already gone on for some six weeks. Last week, the state and some of the defense teams rested their cases. The remaining defendants rested their cases throughout Monday.

The two main groups involved in the case are Feeding Our Future and Partners in Nutrition. Prosecutors say the charities were small-scale nonprofits before the pandemic but ultimately issued a mirage of receipts to the tune of nearly $400 million combined in 2021.

Defense attorney Andrew Birrell, who represents Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, described the bag of cash situation with the juror as “a troubling and upsetting accusation,” according to The Associated Press.

The other defendants currently on trial include Said Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff and Hayat Mohamed Nur. One of the other co-defendants, Mahad Ibrahim, later had his case severed.

Details of the audacious attempt at jury tampering have not made their way to the federal court docket as of this writing.

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The post ‘Stuff that happens in mob movies’: Judge, prosecutor, and defense astonished after juror given $120,000 bag of cash – and promised more – to acquit pandemic fraud defendants first appeared on Law & Crime.

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Author: Colin Kalmbacher


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The post ‘Stuff that happens in mob movies’: Judge, prosecutor, and defense astonished after juror given $120,000 bag of cash – and promised more – to acquit pandemic fraud defendants first appeared on USSA News | The Tea Party’s Front Page.. Visit USSANews.com.



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