As reported by TWP back in December, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit heard an appeal on Friday of a lower court ruling from US District Judge Anthony J. Trenga brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The case involves Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s (Ret.) longtime business partner in the Flynn Intel Group, Bijan Kian (referred to as Bijan Rafiekian in court filings), for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for work related to Turkey.
After a prolonged three month wait, the 4th Circuit finally issued its ruling and “it’s a doozey”.
This is the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) case that Flynn agreed to testify in as part of his cooperation agreement with the DOJ. He made the deal as part of his arrangement to plead guilty on charges of lying to federal investigators about his December 2016 call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn later withdrew from the cooperation agreement because he refused to lie when pressed to do so by Mueller Special Counsel prosecutors.
In the rambling, sometimes nonsensical 40 page decision, the three-judge panel (two of whom are Obama appointees) overturned the lower court’s decision to grant a Motion of Acquittal to Kian after the trial judge himself had set aside the jury’s guilty verdict.
The US District Judge Anthony J. Trenga had made an extraordinary ruling after reviewing all the evidence presented in the case, ruling that it was not sufficient to convict Kian. He stated,
[T]he Government failed to present substantial evidence for a rational juror to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Rafiekian knowingly participated in a conspiracy.US District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in his Sep 2019 ruling setting aside the guilty verdicts in Bijan Kian’s trial.
The 4th Circuit did not stop at overturning just that decision. Also in Trenga’s September 2019 ruling, presumably knowing the highly politized nature of the cases being brought by Mueller Special Counsel prosecutors and knowing his decision on the Motion of Acquittal would likely get appealed, Trenga also laid out four separate reasons that would justify a mistrial in the case and conditionally granted a Motion for New Trial believing it would make the appeal of the acquittal motion moot.
The Mueller Team still chose to appeal Trenga’s ruling anyways (which to be honest, I didn’t even realize was possible at the time) to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal was heard in December 2020; an action Flynn attorney Sidney Powell blasted as,
[A] wrongful and wasteful use of scarce taxpayer resources.Sidney Powell as quoted in the June 2020 Politico article “Feds Press Criminal Case Against Flynn Partner”
The 4th Circuit shockingly was able to perform enough mental gymnastics to determine Trenga had erred or overstepped his authority on all four grounds and vacated his Motion for New Trial; a nearly unheard of action from an appellate court.
According to Politico’s Senior Legal Affairs Reporter Josh Gerstein, Trenga no longer has the option to grant Kian a new trial, and can only move on to the sentencing phase of the trial.
So let’s be clear about what’s happening. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit with two Obama appointees just ordered the judge who oversaw the trial, reviewed all the evidence, and determined there was not enough to convict, and found at least four separate grounds to grant a new trial, to ignore any further consideration and move straight to sentencing a 69-year-old man to federal prison. His crime? Being friends and business partners with Flynn. It’s one of the most grotesque abuses of the judicial system this reporter has ever seen.
The 4th Circuit had a lot of work to do to clean up for the Mueller Team. Overcoming the whole “no evidence” issue to justify their political witch hunt and lock away a senior citizen for most or all of the rest of his natural life and by extension, smear Gen. Flynn can be tricky. That’s probably what took so long.
To get around this little inconvenience, the 4th Circuit effectively ruled two separate Flynn Intel Group engagements codenamed Project Truth and Project Confidence could be pieced together in whatever means necessary in order to fabricate a crime and justify the political targeting.
Project Truth was the name given to a proposed lobbying effort by the Flynn Intel Group that drew some interest from Turkish cabinet-level ministers, but which the government of Turkey ultimately passed on.
Project Confidence was a lobbying effort for which Alptekin himself hired the Flynn Intel Group in August 2016. After the Turkish government passed on Project Truth, Alptekin hoped this would provide “proof of concept” that he could then use to convince the Turkish government with “Confidence” (hence the name) that investing more in the United States on their own lobbying efforts would be worthwhile. Alptekin continued to push Turkish officials to explore entering into their own contract with the Flynn Intel Group.
In September 2016 during a regularly scheduled annual meeting at the United Nations, Alptekin arranged an impromptu “meet and greet” at UN Headquarters since the parties were already present. At Alptekin’s insistence, some Turkish government officials and the Flynn Intel Group agreed to the introduction, more to placate Alptekin than anything. But their engagement never went further, and the existing Project Confidence commercial contract the Flynn Intel Group had with Alptekin’s Dutch company Inovo BV was never discussed.
The “proof of concept” idea comes out in the 4th Circuit decision, but of course gets twisted. Kian had hoped the smaller $600,000 Project Confidence private contract might still convince the government of Turkey to reconsider the much larger $5 million Project Truth government contract. But the 4th Circuit presents them as indistinguishable knowing the average person will never look into the details and find the Turkish government was not funding or directing the existing work the Flynn Intel Group was doing as part of Project Confidence. It’s not like we have a functioning and independent media in this country (present company excluded).
As with everything else related to the Flynn case, the Deep State will use any ridiculous ploy and crush anybody they need to as collateral damage to smear Gen. Flynn, President Trump, and anyone else that dares to support or ally themselves with either one.
To Recap Some Details In TWP’s Prior Reporting
Trenga set aside the guilty verdicts against Kian for a variety of reasons. He had openly expressed doubts about the adequacy of the government’s evidence throughout the trial and questioned how the jury could have taken only three hours to return guilty verdicts, with so little evidence in such a complex case.
The hearing was held in front of U.S. Circuit Judges Paul V. Niemeyer (a Reagan / George H.W. Bush appointee), Barbara M. Keenan (an Obama appointee), and James A. Wynn Jr. (another Obama appointee) who all sat on the 3 judge panel for the 4th Circuit. Given the rampant political corruption apparent in the federal judiciary, and particularly amongst Democrat-appointed judges, the case was almost assuredly going to be overturned and remanded back down to Judge Trenga.
The case is has not received nearly the fanfare of the Flynn case under U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. But when you consider the DOJ figures involved in the the case, such as Brandon Van Grack who somehow inexplicably remained the Chief of the FARA Unit inside the U.S. Dept. of Justice all the way up until this February, it is apparent Kian and others will continue to be politically targeted. Van Grack originally brought the case against Kian before he was subsequently removed from the Flynn case.
Up until January, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia was G. Zachary Terwilliger. Prior to his appointment in May 2018, Terwilliger served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during the height of the Spygate scandal and Mueller Investigation.
Terwilliger took over as U.S. Attorney for the EDVA replacing Dana Boente, who himself was forced to resign for his part in the Spygate scandal and role in framing Gen. Flynn. So given the actors involved, it is doubtful the federal judiciary will grant Kian relief or the DOJ will drop the case willingly.
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