DOJ pushing for September 2019 Mark Scott OneCoin trial date
The case against the first of OneCoin insider to fall, Mark Scott, is slowly progressing towards trial.
At present there’s a bit of a standoff regarding an agreed trial date.
The DOJ want a trial on or around September 2019. Mark Scott’s attorneys want July.
The court has previously ordered the parties to convene and sort it out.
As per a filed March 8th letter by the DOJ however, the issue remains unresolved.
In favor of a September’ish trial, the DOJ argue they have to go through “a voluminous amount of digital data”.
At present the seven terabytes of data is being sifted through to exclude privileged information, meaning the DOJ hasn’t even started on it yet.
Furthermore what data has been sorted is already causing disagreements between Scott’s legal team and the DOJ.
One point of contention is a “clients and attorneys list”, which Scott doesn’t want shared with the prosecution team.
The DOJ have taken the position the information is non-privileged and should be turned over.
The team sorting through the data meanwhile has informed the DOJ that the list itself ‘is far too broad to effectively segregate nonprivileged materials‘.
As a result, the Privilege Team is attempting to engage the defense in a dialogue about narrowing the Client List.
Indeed, the defense’s position means that the Privilege Team could not even provide a privilege log to the prosecution team
because such logs routinely identify the names of the clients involved in the communications being withheld.
Given there’s a guaranteed probability that names on that list are going to be OneCoin related, you can appreciate why the DOJ wants it turned over.
Without the list, the DOJ argue they won’t be able to file ‘certain appropriate pre-trial motions.‘
Specifically, the Government intends to submit a crime fraud motion regarding certain communications between the defendant and his co-conspirators.
However, the Government will be unable to file that motion until the prosecution team gains access to non-privileged materials, a privilege log of materials withheld, and the client list.
The DOJ raises a second argument against a July trial date, pertaining to the coordination of international witnesses.
The Government currently anticipates calling several international witnesses, including potential witnesses from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Cayman Islands.
These individuals are critical witnesses for the Government’s case-in-chief at trial.
The Government expects the evidence at trial to show that Scott set up a series of hedge funds registered abroad with accounts at banks located in the Cayman Islands in order to launder OneCoin proceeds.
Furthermore, Scott transferred a significant portion of the funds to related accounts at banks in the Republic of Ireland.
The Government will very likely call witnesses from these financial institutions, as well as other witnesses who reside overseas.
The appearance of these witnesses for testimony at trial will require coordination with the Central Authorities of the countries in which these witnesses are located, and the foreign entities for which they work.
For these reasons a trial date beginning as early as July will present significant challenges to the Government in ensuring that all of the Government’s witnesses are available to testify at trial.
Considering a September trial date would only be an additional two months (give or take based on scheduling), the DOJ argues Scott’s right to a speedy trial is a non-issue.
a September trial date would ensure that the complex privilege issues described above are appropriately addressed prior to trial, and that essential international and domestic witnesses are available to testify, while also protecting the public’s and the defendant’s interest in a speedy trial.
Sounds good to me, especially considering Scott himself is partially responsible for the delay.
Scott is of course within his rights to assert privilege. But if the DOJ disagrees then the matter(s) need to be litigated, which takes time.
One other interesting tidbit from the DOJ filing is mention of a possible superseding indictment;
the Government charged and arrested one of the leaders of the OnceCoin fraud scheme—Konstantin Ignatov— by complaint earlier this week and may bring a superseding indictment which charges Mark Scott and Ignatov in the same indictment.
If that happens, it could potentially impact the trial schedule for Scott’s case.
A superseding indictment would see the DOJ bring additional charges against Scott. Right now he’s only facing one count of money laundering.
Update 13th March 2019 – Following additional letters to the court (from both Scott’s attorney and the DOJ), a pre-trial conference to resolve scheduling has been scheduled for March 15th.
Update 16th March 2019 – The March 15th pre-trial conference has been adjourned to Monday, March 18th.