Emotions are running extremely high in this strange and curious case of USA vs. Richard Chichakli. It is not surprising, with the trial in its fourth week, that jurors complained about the length of the trial. Jurors number 9 and 10 said enough is enough in emails to the judge. One juror said that their job is going to train and hire a replacement due to their long absence. After hearing this Chichakli demanded a mistrial saying that now the jury is biased against him. The judge refused.
Here is what happened today in Chichakli’s own words:
Today was the end of the witnesses and taking of evidence.
The whole thing turned into mess from the set go in the morning which started with receiving copies of two emails sent by two different juror complaining about the defendant taking too much time. The Email stated in its first line:
“There is a discontent in the jury room with the way the defendant is dragging the case as long as he could”
The other email also complained about the longer than expected trial and blames the defendant “based on our discussions” and ours is the jury. I immediately moved to have the case declared a Mistrial, and the judge immediately denied the motion, and subsequently he went after me on personal level saying that I caused the extended trial and he never seen more boring trial, and etc. Amazing stuff, unrealistically amazing.
So we are sat for tomorrow closing arguments.
Chichakli’s frustration and emotions flared and Chichakli is apparently not happy that the government brought seventeen witness’ to the stand compared to his paltry four witness’. I say paltry because about a dozen witness’ that Chichakli wanted to testify were nullified by the judge. However, the judge has stated to the jury on more than one occasion that “the defendant is under absolutely no obligation to bring forth witness’, the burden of proof is up to the prosecutors.” The judge whom has been extremely patiently throughout this long trial also seemed frustrated. Judge Pauley stated today to Chichakli that Monday was the “most painful in my twenty-five year career. ” I was not in the courtroom yesterday. Therefore I am guessing that since Al Monica was the governments final witness and the judge denied Chichakli’s request for several other DEA and FBI agents to testify, that he was trying to questioning him as extensively as possible. But that is just speculation on my part.
Today Chichakli called Department of Justice employee John Cox III whom he wanted to testify to the fact that he gave Chichakli permission to leave the U.S. back in 2005. Cox said that he could not detain Chichakli nor deny him the right to leave the country since there was no arrest warrant, merely an investigation. Chichakli’s ex-wife Gloria Chichakli also testified. They had not seen each other since 2005 when Chichakli left the States.
Tomorrow on December 11th, 2013 at 9:45 am the government will begin its closing argument or summation. They indicated to the judge that it should last about one hour forty-five minutes. Chichakli indicated that he would need about two and a half hours. However, it is still not clear whom will deliver the defense’s summation. Chichakli late in the day said that he was finished defending himself. Whether or not this was simply emotion or after being incarcerated and defending himself in a four week trial pro-se against the U.S. government and their legal team has in fact left him emotionally and physically spent? So we will not know until tomorrow whether Chichakli whom has handled his case in its entirety will deliver his own summation to the jury or if it will be his back up counsel Mr. Kirton.
Just a reminder for the first part of the trial Chichakli was in solitary confinement without access to email, phone calls or any communications whatsoever outside of Mr. Kirton visiting him in jail. Upon hearing this the judge ordered the Bureau of Prisons [BOP] to move him into general population as well as ordering OFAC to unblock his funds sent to him by his sister so that he could make phone calls. As late as last week Chichakli stated on record that the only Kosher meals provided to him by the prison were frozen and the U.S. Marshals denied him access to a microwave. The judge asked him at the end of that day if he ate and Chichakli stated that he had a piece of bread. The judge sternly told the prosecution to make sure that the defendant is provided with a meal that he can eat.
After the defense finishes their summation then the prosecutors get a 2nd chance called a rebuttal summation. The reason for this is that it is solely up to the prosecution to prove Chichakli’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Once that is completed then in my opinion is the most important part of the trial. It is the judges instructions to the jury on how to interpret the law. This is extremely important because in this case Chichakli is being charged with breaking Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] sanctions and International Emergency Economic Powers Act [IEEPA] laws. According to all the witness’ that testified including Molly Miller whom works for OFAC the laws are open to interpretation. Chichakli, his back up counsel Mr. Kirton and OFAC expert attorney Hal Eren all disagreed with Molly Miller’s testimony and interpretation of the law. Chichakli wanted to have another OFAC employee testify but the judge ruled against it. The judge stated that he will interpret the law for the jury.