Judge Sullivan Calls on Professor Garrett to Look Into Corporate Deferred Prosecution

A federal judge wants some advice on whether he has the authority to reject a corporate deferred prosecution agreement in a bribery case.

And for that advice, he’s calling on a law professor who has written a book on corporate settlements.

The federal judge is Emmett Sullivan.

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The law professor is Brandon Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

And his book, which will be out in October is titled – Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations (Harvard University Press, October 2014.)

In an order issued late last month in federal court in the District of Columbia, Judge Sullivan called on Professor Garrett “to appear in this case as an amicus curiae for the limited purpose of providing the Court with advocacy on questions regarding the scope of the Court’s authority, if any, to consider the fairness and reasonableness of a deferred prosecution in deciding whether to accept or reject such an agreement.”

The deferred prosecution agreement is between the Justice Department and Saena Tech, a defense contractor.

The agreement grew out of a domestic bribery investigation.

Last month, In Seon Lim, a former contracting official for the U.S. Department of the Army, pled guilty to federal charges stemming from a scheme in which he accepted over $490,000 worth of benefits, including cash payments and vacations, from favored contractors. In return, he helped these businesses obtain millions of dollars in federal contracts.

“In Seon Lim, a former Army contracting officer, procured a half-million dollars in bribes in exchange for steering millions of dollars in Army contracts to corrupt businessmen,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Lim sold out the public trust for cash, vacations, and a Lexus.”

While a total of 17 other individuals and one corporation, Nova Datacom, LLC, have pled guilty to federal charges, one corporation — Saena Tech — was granted a deferred prosecution agreement.

In May of this year, Saena Tech was charged with one count of paying a bribe to a public official.

Federal officials justified the deferred prosecution saying the company “has provided assistance by voluntarily producing documents” and making the company’s managing director, Jin Seok Kim, a Korean citizen, available for an interview.

“During his interview, Mr. Kim provided the investigation with considerable amounts of relevant and helpful evidence regarding illegal conduct involving a former public official employed by the United States Department of the Army and others,” the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department agreed not to bring any criminal charges against Kim, even though, according to the statement of facts in the case, he was directly involved in the scheme.

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