The trial judge in the Iran sanctions violation case, against the Iranian-Turkish gold trader, Reza Zarrab, his brother, and others, has changed the January 23rd trial date; the case will now be heard on October 17, 2017. The new trial date was granted at a hearing on other matters, on November 30, after the defense represented that it would not be adequately prepared for a January trial, in light of a recently-filed Superseding Indictment, which added additional charges against their client.
The new indictment, which added Zarrab's brother, Mohammad, to the case, also alleges that both brothers were deeply involved with the Iranian carrier , Mahan Air, an OFAC-sanctioned entity that transports troops and military equipment, for both the sanctioned Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the sanctioned Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
It is also, when considering whether the rescheduling of the trial date was necessary, important to note that the defense has three major pretrial motions pending; two suppression motions, regarding discovery issues, and a Conflict of Interest motion, filed against the defense law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. All pretrial matters must be resolved in advance of trial, and appeals of decisions on them, including potential interlocutory appeals, could derail the trial at the last moment.
The conflict motion, which Kirkland & Ellis sought to resolve, by filing consents, from firm clients, Bank of America, and Deutsche Bank, has now gotten more complex, after the Government disclosed that additional banks clients of K & L have suffered damages, and could testify at trial. Those clients are:
(1) JP Morgan Chase Bank.
(3) HSBC Bank USA.
(5) Wells Fargo Bank.
The Court exempted the period from January 23 to October 16 from Speedy Trial computation. This means that the defense cannot move to dismiss the case, for failure to bring the matter to trial within 70 days of the filing of the Superseding indictment, pursuant to the Speedy Trial Act.
The pending motions are all scheduled for hearings during the month of December, but the issues presented are complex, and they may not be resolved at that time.