Monday, October 26, 2020

Judge Agrees to Delay Former Alstom Executive’s Bribery Trial

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A federal judge granted former Alstom SA executive Lawrence Hoskins a brief reprieve from his upcoming trial, but rejected claims that his constitutional rights had been violated.

Mr. Hoskins, a former Alstom senior vice president, failed to show that years of delays to his trial had violated his Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights as well as the Speedy Trial Act, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled Monday.

Mr. Hoskins, who was arrested in 2014, is charged with helping organize a scheme from 2002 to 2004 to bribe Indonesian government officials to win a $118 million power contract for Alstom.

His trial has been delayed because of overseas document requests and a lengthy appeal by the U.S. Justice Department of a ruling by Judge Arterton that set new limits on who prosecutors can charge with conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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A lawyer for Mr. Hoskins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

The case is one of the longest running FCPA cases currently being litigated, and has raised significant legal questions about the foreign bribery law.

In July, Mr. Hoskins filed an unexpected motion to dismiss the charges against him on constitutional grounds.

Related: Former Alstom Executive Asks Judge to Throw Out Foreign Bribery Charges

The former executive also has asked for more time to review new evidence obtained by prosecutors from his time at Alstom. Judge Arterton last week granted his request, pushing the trial date back nearly two months to Oct. 28.

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Mr. Hoskins’s failure to assert his right to a speedy trial earlier, coupled with his own insistence that he needed additional documents to craft his defense, undercut the former executive’s argument that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated, the judge wrote Monday.

The Sixth Amendment and the Speedy Trial Act protect an individual’s right to a trial without unnecessary delays. The Fifth Amendment sets out due process protections.

Mr. Hoskins had argued that the Fifth Amendment had been violated because prosecutors took a decade to charge him for the allegations in question.

The former executive hadn’t demonstrated how the length of time that has passed since his indictment on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges would harm his ability to defend himself at trial, Judge Arterton wrote.

Alstom resolved the Justice Department’s FCPA probe in 2014, by agreeing to pay $772 million. The French company’s power business was sold to General Electric Co. in 2015.

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