Flynn Associate Bijan Kian Seeks Trial Delay to September
(Bloomberg) -- A former Michael Flynn business associate charged with illegally lobbying in the U.S. for the Turkish government asked a federal judge to postpone his Feb. 11 trial so he can review the government’s evidence and gather more for his defense.
A lawyer for Bijan Rafiekian, also known as Bijan Kian, made the request after a prosecutor told U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga he’d handed over terabytes of information prior to the Thursday hearing at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Some of that evidence is from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“I’m not sure the word speedy trial belongs in the same sentence” as terabytes, defense lawyer Robert Trout told Trenga. The attorney also said he needed time to gather evidence from foreign governments, possibly including depositions, and asked the judge to delay the trial until September.
Neither Flynn nor the consulting firm he ran with Kian were identified by name in the Alexandria indictment, though there are references to a person who matches Flynn’s description. Unlike Flynn, who is cooperating with Mueller, there’s no indication that Kian is. He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers indicated they’re pressing forward toward a trial.
Charges against Kian and Kamil Alptekin, a Turkish businessman, were unsealed on Dec. 17, when Kian made his initial appearance at the Alexandria courthouse renowned for its expedited handling of cases. Alptekin hasn’t answered the charges against him, which also include lying to federal agents.
Kian appeared in court accompanied by a second lawyer, Mark MacDougall. Trenga ordered the defense to file its postponement request in writing by Jan. 21 and set a Feb. 7 date to hear arguments.
While none of the information turned over to the defense thus far is classified, prosecutor James Gillis said there was some data that he said he didn’t believe should be turned over to the defense. Gillis said he needed more time to consult with the intelligence community before making a formal request to withhold it.
Flynn admitted to illegally lobbying on behalf of Turkey when he pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to federal agents about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, who was the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Flynn’s ongoing cooperation prompted a Washington federal court judge to recommend Flynn delay his sentencing on Dec. 18. The decorated former U.S. Army general accepted the offer. No new hearing date has been set.
The case is U.S. v. Rafiekian, 18-cr-457, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).
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