Attorneys representing the Iranian businessman & gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is charged with violating US sanctions on Iran, have filed their Reply Memorandum of Law, regarding their pending motion for recusal of the trial judge. They have made some persuasive arguments in the Reply.
First of all, they argue that the motion is timely, because the facts of the case, when applied to the four factor test cited by the Government, favor recusal:
(A) The parties have NOT "participated in a substantial manner in trial or pre-trial proceedings." Discovery is far from being completed.
(B) The Court took appropriate action, to ensure against a "waste of judicial resources, " by canceling the hearing on the two pending motions.
(C) There has been no entry of judgment.
(D) There is good cause for delay. Defense counsel has been investigating the events in Turkey, which started with the failed coup in July.
Second, Recusal is warranted on the merits.
(A) The Government has applied the wrong legal standard. the correct one is whether "an objective, informed observer could reasonably question the judge's impartiality," not that the dense has the burden of showing "such a high degree of favoritism or antagonism to make fair judgment impossible."
(B) The Government has mischaracterized the Court's past comments. They were not "innocuous" or "noncontroversial statements" about the fundamental rule of law.
Finally, the defense maintains that Government has signaled it intends to detail the facts surrounding the Turkish case against Zarrab, where there are allegations that it was dismissed due to the payment of bribes, and that Zarrab corrupted the Turkish judicial system.
Both sides have presented compelling arguments, but the law does favor Recusal under similar circumstances. The motions to dismiss, and to suppress evidence, will not be heard until the Court renders its decision on this motion.