Judge overturns guilty verdicts against Trump transition adviser on foreign-agent charges

The Justice Department’s drive to crack down on violations of foreign-agent laws suffered another blow Tuesday as a federal judge overturned guilty verdicts a jury returned against a business partner of Gen. Michael Flynn over work the pair did for Turkish interests during the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga, who presided over the weeklong trial of Bijan Rafiekian in July in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that prosecutors put forward insufficient proof to sustain the jury’s finding that Rafiekian knowingly operated as a Turkish government agent and intentionally failed to notify U.S. officials about his work.

“There is no substantial evidence that Rafiekian agreed to operate subject to the direction or control of the Turkish government,” Trenga wrote as he ordered the acquittal of the 67-year-old Iranian-American businessman and former board member for the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Article URL : https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/25/judge-overturns-guilty-verdicts-bijan-rafiekian-1510719

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