Sentencing of Glass Emporium Owner Hakimian Delayed Until July 2; Response Also Filed to Feds' Objection to New Trial
June 2, 2010

The sentencing of Glass Emporium owner Mehrdad Hakimian has been delayed until July 2. It previously was scheduled for June 11, but was postponed for three weeks at the request of Hakimian's counsel-and with the agreement of the U.S. attorneys representing the federal government in the case.

Hakimian was found guilty in March of several charges related to insurance fraud, obstruction of justice and more. He also had pleaded guilty to charges related to visa fraud and the harboring of illegal aliens. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Meanwhile, Hakimian's motion for a new trial is scheduled to be heard this Friday, June 4. Hakimian had filed the motion for a new trial alleging that the court had erred on several counts in April, and the federal government had objected with a brief filed on May 21. On Friday, Hakimian's counsel filed a 15-page response to the government's objection to the motion, arguing against many of the points made.

For example, though Hakimian's counsel had argued visa fraud evidence should not have been admitted in the March trial, as he'd previously pleaded guilty to these, U.S. attorney Joseph P. Russoniello had alleged in his motion that "the visa fraud facilitated the wire fraud offenses," and that "the inextricably intertwined visa fraud was necessary to explain the heightened degree of control Hakimian exercised over certain foreign employees in instructing them to over-bill insurance companies for windshield parts and installation materials."

However, Hakimian's counsel argues that "the link between the visa fraud and wire fraud allegations [was] never proved at trial."

"Hakimian did not control his employees by means of fraudulent via petitions and in this way induce them to assist in his alleged insurance fraud scheme," writes the defense. "While the government floated this theory in advance of trial, the evidence did not establish it, and in fact refuted the government's position."

The statement from Hakimian's counsel continues, "There was no testimony that Hakimian relied on the falsity of workers' visa petitions to force or persuade them to do illegal things while billing insurance companies."

There also has been disagreement about Glass Emporium vice president Emma DeGuzman, who declined to testify citing her Fifth Amendment rights, after previously pleading guilty to the illegal alien charges-at which point the fraud charges against her were dropped. While Hakimian had claimed DeGuzman should have been granted immunity, or that the jury should have been instructed that her testimony was only unavailable to the defense, the federal representatives involved have claimed that "a witness who invokes the right against self-discrimination is equally unavailable to both parties."

However, Hakimian's counsel writes, "There is no valid reason why the government should not immunize a person in DeGuzman's position," and points out that others involved were immunized in the case.

"If the government feared she should give false testimony, it would retain the option of prosecuting her on the basis thereof," adds Hakimian's counsel. "Therefore, immunizing DeGuzman would not entail any prejudice to the government sufficient to outweigh Hakimian's clear need for her testimony."

Hakimian is represented by San Francisco attorney William Osterhoudt.

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