Today, Chief Judge England granted the government's request to dismiss all charges against defendants Siavash Poursartip and Sara Shirazi in a case set for trial November 9. The two had been charged in this 2010 Indictment with felony bribery, theft, and fraud arising out of an alleged scheme to defraud Cal Trans. Here's the DOJ/FBI press release trumpeting the charges.
In their request to dismiss the case, the prosecutors report that the third defendant, Clint Gregory, a senior electrical engineer at Cal Trans, had been cooperating with the government starting a year before the indictment was filed. In multiple interviews with prosecutors, he "consistently stated" that Poursartip and Shiraz had bribed him for the purpose of ensuring business for their company Infotek with Caltrans. On October 21, during a trial prep session, Gregory was "questioned aggressively" concerning the bribes and conceded that his earlier statements were "not accurate," and the payments in question were not bribes. [Editor's note: In everyday talk, what prosecutors call "not accurate" here is commonly called "a lie."].
The government doesn't acknowledge that the defendants were likely innocent on the fraud charges as well. But they requested dismissal of all charges because "what was once a public corruption case is now limited to an alleged scheme concerning state contracting procedures and resulting in uncertain losses to the State," which did not "implicate a federal interest sufficient" to justify the expenses and resources to proceed to trial.
Of course, the defense has another view. In their Opposition to the government's attempt to exclude defense evidence from the jury trial, the defense attorneys noted that the defense team met with the U.S. Attorney's Office before the indictment was filed. At the meeting, they presented the facts and circumstances showing their clients had not defrauded or deceived CalTrans, which had in fact authorized and directed Infotek's conduct. Instead the government took the word of their informant, leading to years of litigation and expenses before all charges were dismissed on the eve of trial. Congratulations to defense attorneys Richard Pachter and Chris Wing for their 6-year fight to exonerate their clients.
[Editor's note 2: The prosecutors who asked for dismissal don't appear to be responsible here, as they just inherited this mess from the initial prosecutors who are long gone.].