Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I was supposed to start a month-long trial this week in West Palm Beach, but it got postponed till next Monday. Here are some stories about other trials that started this week:

1. Participant or just translator? Shahrazad Gholikhan started trial in front of Judge Cohn. She is charged with attempting to export night vision goggles to Iran. This was the case that originally pled out to credit time served, but the government moved to vacate the sentence saying it had made a mistake in the guidelines. Judge Cohn then resentenced her to 29 months. Then the defense moved to vacate the plea, saying that everyone had thought it was a CTS case. Judge Cohn agreed and here we are in trial. Vanessa Blum covers it here:

The strange legal odyssey that led an Iranian woman to surrender last year to face charges she tried to supply Iran with U.S.-made night vision goggles took another turn Tuesday with opening statements to jurors in Fort Lauderdale federal court.A prosecutor told jurors that Shahrazad Mir Gholikhan, 30, conspired with her former husband to illegally purchase thousands of military-grade night vision goggles and traveled to Vienna in 2004 to obtain a sample pair.Gholikhan's attorney countered that she went to Vienna without knowing her ex-husband's plan and served only as his translator.

2. The Venezuelan cash smuggling case started up before Judge Lenard. Here's Curt Anderson's take:

A wealthy Venezuelan businessman went on trial Tuesday on U.S. charges that he illegally acted as his government's agent in an elaborate scheme to conceal the source of $800,000 in political cash carried in a suitcase into Argentina.
Prosecutors say Franklin Duran, 40, was doing the bidding of Venezuela's intelligence service when he and others used promises of $2 million in cash and veiled threats of violence to make the cover-up work. The FBI taped dozens of conversations between Duran and his alleged cohorts on the telephone and in South Florida restaurants and coffee shops.
Jury selection began Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard, with the trial expected to take up to six weeks. Duran, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and failing to register with the U.S. as a Venezuelan agent.
The purported cover-up involved a cash-stuffed suitcase brought into Argentina aboard a Venezuelan aircraft in August 2007 that prosecutors say was intended as a contribution for new Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. Both she and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have denounced the trial as politically motivated, but U.S. officials deny that.
Still, the case has further strained the already sour relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela. Duran's lawyer, Ed Shohat, has repeatedly insisted the trial is intended mainly to embarrass Chavez and his allies in Latin America and that Duran wasn't even aware of the registration law he is accused of violating.
"Our view is that this case is a political attack," Shohat said.


Anonymous said...

Am I crazy but did Sarah Palin hit a home run last night

If the country is deciding who they would have rather have a beer with - Obama is in trouble

Anonymous said...

You are f'ing crazy -

If the question were 'who would I rather do a body shot off of?' then I agree - Palin '08.

But, come on...she was stiff, uncharismatic, and has shown what a disgraceful pick she is.

Getting an arena full of idiots who still think Bush did a good job to scream and holla' is no monumental accomplishment.

She looked like a timid mouse poking her head out of a hole to make sure there are no cats around. Well, all she found was a bunch of rats and that is no threat. Wait till she has to debate or answer tough questions.

Anonymous said...

Palin supports teaching creationism in science classes. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I would like to test the creationism theory with her. Let's see if we can create number 6.

Anonymous said...

Typical elitist liberal comments. Palin is for real.

She won more votes last night than Obama did with his speech.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean won?

You mean convincing a bunch of idiots like you that she is "the real deal."

Do you really believe that people who are committed to voting for her were ever going to vote for Obama? For f-'s sake ---

The republicans could have put f-ing David Duke up there and you would be saying the same thing.

Anonymous said...

4:11 you are detached from reality. If you don't think she connected with a large part of middle America last night go back to today's New York Times and your latte.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what a latte is, but it sounds almost expensive and devoid of substance enough to be Republican, like Sara Palin.

How do you reconcile the fact that she believes the government should interject itself into families' privacy by telling them what they can and cannot morally do, but then she asks for respect and privacy when her daughter winds up pregnant -- That makes her a hypocrite, which if you have ever read the Bible, is one of Jesus' pet peevs. Way to connect with the Bible Belt.

And, by the way...there are two important points to take from her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy

As the mother, she is her daughter's leader and teacher - Sara taught abstinence and told her daughter not to have sex prior to marriage - therefore Sara Palin is a failure as a leader and as a teacher -- seems like she is really qualified to be VP.

Anonymous said...

If you truly believe that life begins at conception and abortion is murder, should you do nothing?
I think if you hold that position you should interject yourself into the debate. As a citizen you have an obligation to stand up for what you believe is wrong.

And if you do hold those beliefs, is it really hypocrticial to ask that the media not harass and hound your 17 year old daughter who did not ask for the spotlight be put on her.

Finally, you must not have children. If you believe that a parent is a mother is failure because her child does not follow her advice, then you must be drinking something much stronger than a latte.

Going back to cling to my gun and my Bible.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think she is a failure as a mom. But, the failure of her daughter to follow the advice tends to demonstrate how misguided the advice is in the first place. Really, if you know we are one of the leading countries in the world in terms of teen pregnancy and want the government to support abstinence education -- which she now knows does not work -- doesn't that bode poorly for her ability to make good choices. It smells of the same type of self-righteous closed-mindedness we have had to suffer for the last 8 years -- Mission Accomplished, Bownie your doin' a heck of a job, Free people are free to loot, etc...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in case you really were wondering how hypocritical the republican party is, take a look at this link and watch the clip of Stewart.

Anonymous said...

Advising your teenage children is "misguided?" You are off your freaking rocker.

Anonymous said...

No, giving bad advice is misguided. How bout saying - yes, they are going to have, let me tell him/her to use protection to avoid disease or pregnancy. That is the difference between good advice and bad advice - going to Iraq in '03 or being smart and not doing it.

When I was in high school, I loved the girls from the upper echelon catholic schools -- they were always the ones who got such great "advice" from their families!!!

Anonymous said...

Our next VP - Lock and Load:

Rumpole said...


Anonymous said...

Any bets on court closures yet?

V.I.F. said...

Nothing but a gabber ... Nice pic on the DBR.

Anonymous said...

The only thing Sara Palin is proud of is the fact:

'she's a pistol packin' mama.'

Congratulations Sara you just won the vote of every red neck in america.
That is, if those inbreeds even know how to vote.

Anonymous said...

There is a slight chance that the inbreeds will not go out and vote, but the Cuban Americans, (most are hardcore Republicans) who usually vote for Republicans, will definitely be voting on November 4th - that's about all we have to worry about here in South FL folks!

Granted, they are doing what they are suppose to do, which is VOTE.

But that means that for every ONE Democrat in South Florida, there are about SIX or SEVEN Republican voters canceling us out one at a time.

And on that note, early voting beings October 20 - November 2.