Just when you thought the criminal case against Richard Ammar Chichakli, Viktor Bout's reputed former CFO, could not get any stranger, it does. Chichakli's back-up Counsel, Marlon Kirton, previously appointed to assist the defendant, who is representing himself in these proceedings, sent a letter to the Court, on September 6, 2013. The complete text follows:
"I am Stand By Counsel for the above referenced defendant. Mr. Chichakli would like a conference to discuss a number of legal issues regarding his case,. At bottom, Mr. Chichakli believes that this Court has the legal basis to dismiss the charges against him as a matter of law.
I have summarized these issues to the government*. Mr. Chichakli would like a conference on Monday afternoon, September 9, 2013, to address these concerns orally on the record. Mr. Chichakli relayed this message to me on Tuesday, September 4, 2013. "
The Court responded, through an endorsement and order, on the face of the letter:
"Application denied. Chichakli is directed to file a written motion by September 12, 2013. The Government shall respond on September 19, 2013. Any reply shall be filed on September 24, 2013. Oral argument on the motion will take place on September 27, 2013 at 2:00.
/s/ WILLIAM H. PAULEY III U.S.D.J. "
One must assume that Mr. Kirton has quoted to Chichakli Rule 47(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which requires a motion to be in writing, unless excused by the Court, and that it must state the grounds upon which it is based, and Chichakli for reasons of his own, asked his stand-by counsel to send the letter to the Court.
The defendant has an "extremely high" burden of proof, to establish a charge of outrageous government conduct, under existing Federal decisions. Does he have the proverbial smoking gun ?
Alternatively, did he cleverly ask the court to allow him to make Ore Tenus** motions, because he intends to use information regarding prior relationships between himself and Viktor Bout, on one hand, and the intelligence services of the United States and/or Russia, on the other hand, to establish his defense, and he knows such evidence may be classified ? Rumors that Bout and Chichakli performed such services have circulated for years, and Chichakli lived in Moscow, prior to his relocation to Australia, where there was little or no expectation that he would ever be extradited to the US.
Is Chichakli betting that the United States Government will dismiss the case against him, rather than suffer the exposure of information about Viktor Bout's work for American intelligence services ? And where did Chichakli fit in ? And did both ever work for the SVR, the Russian Federal Intelligence Service. The disclosure of this information may serve to embarrass the United States at a time when it least wants one more dark secret exposed.
If we see that Chichakli's motion is sealed by the Court, we may finally be able to figure out some of the mystery surrounding Bout & Chichakli, after all.
* A footnote to the letter stated " The legal ground for these claims is based upon the 4th Amendment notion of 'Outrageous Government Conduct.' " The United States Supreme Court has held that a criminal defense that admits the defendant's inclination to commit the crime, but seeks dismissal on the grounds that the conduct of law enforcement agents was so outrageous that Due Process principles would absolutely bar the Government from invoking judicial process to obtain a conviction. United States vs. Russell, 411 U.S. 423, 93 S.Ct. 1637, 36 L. Ed.2d 366 (1973).
**oral or verbal.