Monday, March 9, 2020


As a part of their trial strategy the defense attorneys for the Iranian banker, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, seek to introduce evidence of what is referred to a "De-Risking, " the efforts of onshore banks to cancel correspondent relationships that represent needless high-risk/low rewards. De-Risking has been criticized in the Developing World, as it denies foreign banks direct and inexpensive access to onshore financial structures. Frankly, the subject is not relevant to the case at hand, unless you are a defense attorney looking to muddy the water a bit, or generate some sympathy for your otherwise guilty client. When the evidence against a criminal client is strong, and well documented, counsel often resort to introducing extraneous or irrelevant issues to a jury, attempting to divert attention from guilt, or to present an alternative argument that supports their client's innocence.

To discuss the issue, counsel wants to introduce, as an expert witness, Trita Parsi, the former Executive Director of the National Iranian-American Council, or NAIC. The problem is:

(1) Parsi has never worked in a bank, nor labored as a compliance officer.
(2) Parsi has never written any articles on the subject, nor performed any research of a relevant nature.
(3) Parsi's sole contact with the subject, and source of information, has been interviews, and the anecdotal evidence that was learned from them.

Therefore, Parsi is clearly unqualified to serve as an Expert Witness at trial, so why is he here?  It may be that this little detail has been ignored due to his ability to build sympathy for the defendant. The Government has objected to his testimony; will the Court properly exclude it ? Stay tuned.

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