The bribery and money laundering trial of a former Goldman Sachs executive has been thrown into turmoil after federal prosecutors – for the second time in more than a week – said the government failed to turn over thousands of pages of emails and documents in time. another individual of an important witness to the prosecution.
The federal judge presiding over Roger Ng’s trial in Brooklyn on Wednesday said the government’s failure to produce the documents was “particularly disturbing” and would result in delays in the proceedings for prosecutors. Defense attorneys have time to review additional documents.
“I will give the defense as much time as they need,” Judge Margo K. Brodie, chief justice of the Eastern District of New York, said in a brief hearing with the grand jury.
She made her decision after Marc Agnifilo, one of Mr Ng’s lawyers, said he was considering asking the judge to declare a false claim. He added that he could ask for the dismissal of the charges against his client for what he called “government misconduct”.
Judge Brodie offered no insight into how she might rule on those claims. But a confusion would be a shocking development in this case, 16 months later Goldman pleaded guilty was criminally charged and fined $5 billion for his role in a far-reaching overseas bribery and corruption conspiracy involving a large sovereign Malaysian wealth fund.
Mr. Ng, who was a banker for Goldman in Malaysia, is likely to be the only person to stand trial in the US over the scandal, as the plot’s mastermind – Jho Low – is a fugitive and is known as a fugitive. is said to be living in China.
In a letter to the court late Tuesday, federal prosecutors said they had just learned that about 15,000 emails and other documents belonging to the government’s star witness, Timothy Leissner, had never been transferred to the defense. They added that the late discovery of those documents was an “inexcusable error” and that they could lead to delays in the testing process, which began on February 14.
Prosecutors blamed the matter on another group of government lawyers tasked with reviewing the documents to make sure they could be made available to defense attorneys without infringing on any rights. by Mr. Leissner. A similar problem arose after the trial began when the government delayed turning over 120,000 pages of emails and other documents belonging to Mr. Leissner, a former Goldman partner.
“We are still reviewing the 120,000 pages we already have,” said Mr. Agnifilo. “This is a categorical failure.”
The break is likely to last several days after Mr. Leissner finishes his direct testimony. He agreed to cooperate with the government and pleaded guilty in 2018 to participating in a blatant conspiracy to rob more than $4 billion from Malaysia’s 1MDB fund. He also agreed to lose about $47 million in illicit profits and is expected to be sentenced this summer.
Starting last week, Mr. Leissner instructed the jury on the details of the plan. He testified that he and Mr. Ng were key players in a plot to use some of the proceeds to bribe foreign officials to secure Goldman’s right to a $6.5 million settlement. bonds for 1MDB fund.
He testified that both he and Mr. Ng were present at a meeting in 2012 where Mr. Low described the scheme to give bribes. Mr. Leissner said Mr. Low, A flamboyant Malaysian businessman with a penchant for high living, told former Goldman executives that they would be “taken care of”.
Mr. Leissner also testified that he used $10 million of the 1MDB’s loot to buy a house for his ex-girlfriend. He said he bought the house to prevent his girlfriend from notifying the authorities about his activities.
Prosecutors have stated that Mr. Ng and his wife received illicit payments of up to $35 million from the scheme. But Mr. Agnifilo said the money came from unrelated legitimate transactions. He said $35 million was owed by Mr. Leissner’s ex-wife, Judy Chan, who owns a large vineyard in China, to Mr. Ng’s wife.
Mr. Agnifilo said documents that the government was slow to produce could be crucial to his client’s defense. He said Covid-19 restrictions had limited his ability to pursue investigative leads in Asia.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/business/roger-ng-trial-1mdb.html The 1MDB trial will be paused so the defense can study the new material