Judge Rules Merchant of Death Author Does Not Have to Testify in Chichakli Trial
Douglas Farah’s Subpoena Nullified
Today about 5:20pm EST, the Honorable Judge William H. Pauley III ruled on Douglas Farah’s request to quash [To overthrow; to annul; to make void or declare invalid] his subpoena by Richard Chichakli. Dougals Farah is co-author of the book the Merchant of Death which is about Viktor Bout. Chichakli is alleged to be Viktor Bout’s co-co-conspirator and is currently under on trial. I have so far been in attendance the entire trial and I am guessing that Viktor Bout’s name has been mentioned at least 100 times so far during the course of the trial by both the prosecution and defense.
After the jury was dismissed shortly after 5:00pm the prosecution and defense argued back and forth to the judge in what can be described as very emotional and at times heated. As a reminder, Chichakli is representing himself or pro-se. Today’s debate to the judge was mostly over Chichakli’s witness’ that he would like to subpoena, several by video conference and a few in person, the judge at one point had to warn him not to raise his voice in the court room. It appeared that Chichakli’s frustration was directed more towards the prosecution more so than the judge for the prosecutions many objections to most of his requested witness’. Marlon Kirton, Chichakli’s standby counsel also plead his case to the judge several times on behalf of his potential client should he have to take over the case at a moments notice. Most of the emotional discussion directed towards the judge was from the prosecutor Christian R. Everdell and Mr. Chichakli.
Chichakli seemed disappointed that judge Pauley III granted Farah his request to avoid the subpoena but the judge stated by Farah’s own admission that what he would testify to in court “was based mostly on hearsay and would not be admissible in court.” From a legal perspective it makes sense, Farah has co-authored a book about Viktor Bout but has never met him nor has Farah ever interviewed Bout. Thus many close associates of Bout question the authenticity as well as Douglas Farah’s motives for the book that some say was a directed negative PR campaign and character assassination of Bout. However, from Chichakli’s perspective, from observing him during pre-trial hearings as well during his trial, I am assuming that he wanted to discredit Douglas Farah? More importantly, I’m guessing that Chichakli wanted Farah to testify as to why and for whom was he asked to write the defamatory book about Viktor Bout.
Douglas Farah’s Attorney Files a Memo to Court
The following excerpts are taking from a Rapsi article titled Merchant of Death author seeks to avoid alleged Bout co-conspirator’s trial which was published on November 26, 2013:
The well-known co-author of the book Merchant of Death, which is said to profile Viktor Bout, filed a motion to quash a subpoena to testify in the trial of his alleged co-conspirator Richard Ammar Chichakli, according to court documents obtained by RAPSI.
Farah authored the book Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible, which was published in 2008.
US prosecutors moved earlier this month to exclude the book, as well as the co-author’s media statements and Congressional testimony, amongst other items sought by Chichakli to be introduced as evidence.
A memo filed with the court by Farah’s attorneys Monday explains the court agreed, issuing an order on November 18 asserting that: “[i]f offered for the truth, the content of these documents are inadmissible hearsay… Absent a showing by Chichakli of a nonhearsay purpose, these documents are precluded.”
The memo goes on to state that Chichakli served Farah with a subpoena to testify at a hearing or trial in the case on November 22.
The document goes on to state, “The court should quash the subpoena to testify for the same reason it has already rejected defendant’s attempt to admit Mr. Farah’s writings, interviews and Congressional testimony into evidence: Mr. Farah’s testimony would be based on inadmissible hearsay.”
The memo further raises the special legal protections awarded to journalists under New York’s Shield Law and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
According to the document, the New York Shield Law “affords absolute protection of a reporter’s confidential material and sources and qualified protection for non-confidential material and sources.”
The First Amendment of the US Constitution provides for the freedoms of speech and the press, stating in relevant part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”
Furthermore, the memo notes that Farah has a long-standing commitment to conduct a specialized training with the US National Security Agency (NSA) on December 3, and expects to be out of the country until December 14, 2013. Thus Farah requested the court to quash the subpoena, or to at least adjourn its return date to sometime after his return from NSA training.
Please stayed, I plan to update my blog very soon with a post of many highlights that have happened over the last severals of the Richard Chichakli trial.