Monday, December 22, 2008
Case vs. Kuehne dismissed
Law.com reports: "In a ruling hailed as a victory by defense lawyers, a federal judge on Monday dismissed a money laundering conspiracy charge against a prominent attorney accused of illegal dealings with a Colombian drug lord. The issue was whether $5.2 million transferred from Colombia to the accounts of attorney Ben Kuehne were exempt from criminal prosecution because they were essentially legal fees. Kuehne's lawyers and defense attorneys' groups argued that the conspiracy charge against him violated the U.S. Constitution's Sixth Amendment guarantee that a person charged with a crime has a right to a lawyer. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke agreed, rejecting the U.S. Justice Department's contention that the payments were not necessary for the defense of Colombian drug baron Fabio Ochoa, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to prison. "If I were to construe the statutory exemption as the government suggests, the exemption for such transactions would amount to no exemption at all," Cooke said." Full story here.