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Prosecutors in a disastrous Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case agreed to toss the conviction of a third individual defendant in light of a federal judge’s dismissal of related charges against two co-defendants for prosecutorial misconduct. Angela Aguilar, a Mexican national, was convicted along with Lindsey Manufacturing Co. and two of its senior executives on allegations that they paid bribes, including a $300,000 red Ferrari, to two officials of a state-owned electric utility in Mexico. She is the wife of Enrique Aguilar, president of Grupo International, sales agent for Lindsey Manufacturing. Her husband was charged but remains a fugitive. After a jury found the company and executives guilty in May, Aguilar, who’d spent 10 months in jail, reached an early plea bargain on sentencing that allowed her release on time served as long as she forfeited $2.5 million in illegal proceeds. She waived her right to an appeal or file post-trial motions and dropped a motion for judgment of acquittal. She waived her right to challenge her conviction after the appellate process had run out. Then, on Dec. 1, U.S. District Judge Howard Matz in Los Angeles threw out the convictions of the company and the two executives. He cited false statements that an FBI agent made to the grand jury and false information in affidavits submitted by the government for search-and-seizure warrants, among other wrongdoing. Aguilar’s attorney, Stephen Larson, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Arent Fox, on Dec. 9 asked Matz to approve a stipulation between his client and federal prosecutors to drop her waiver to challenge her conviction. The government also agreed to throw out her conviction if Matz’s dismissal ruling remains intact. The government has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Matz has yet to rule on the stipulation. “We appreciate the serious consideration reflected in Judge Matz’s decision to dismiss the indictment, and we also appreciate the government’s subsequent agreement that, subject to Judge Matz’s order and any appellate review, Mrs. Aguilar’s conviction should be vacated,” Larson said via e-mail. Department of Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment. Jan Handzlik, a partner at Venable’s Los Angeles office who represents Lindsey Manufacturing and Chief Executive Officer Keith Lindsey, issued a comment via e-mail: “We are delighted Angela Aguilar will now have the opportunity to set her conviction aside, if the Lindsey dismissal is upheld. The government should be commended for agreeing to this.” On May 10, a jury convicted Lindsey Manufacturing; Lindsey; and Chief Financial Officer Steve Lee on one count each of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and five FCPA violations. Angela Aguilar pleaded to one count of conspiracy to launder money. She originally faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least $500,000. During a June 3 hearing on her sentencing deal, Matz, who had thrown out a second count of money laundering against Aguilar earlier, told her: “Sometimes people get caught up, as you got caught up, who are fundamentally good people. Far from being an evil person, there’s a lot of good about you.” Matz put off sentencing for Lindsey and Lee after both filed motions to dismiss based on a “sustained pattern of misconduct” by the government. Among the examples of misconduct, Matz cited its belated disclosure that the lead prosecutor had obtained copies of Angela Aguilar’s e-mails, some of which she had sent to her attorneys, while she was in jail. Matz had approved the government’s request to obtain telephone records, but not e-mails. Matz granted Aguilar’s motion to suppress those e-mails as evidence. Contact Amanda Bronstad at [email protected].

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