UNITED STATES NEWS

Felony convictions vacated for 4 Navy officers in sprawling scandal

Sep 6, 2023, 2:16 PM | Updated: 2:36 pm

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The felony convictions of four Navy officers in a sprawling bribery case were vacated due to prosecutorial misconduct Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino called the misconduct “outrageous” and agreed to allow the four men to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a $100 fine each. The officers on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of destruction of government property, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The officers — former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman and former Cmdr. Mario Herrera — were convicted in one of the worst bribery cases in recent history for the Navy that centered around a defense contractor nicknamed Fat Leonard.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Ko, who was brought on after the four officers were tried last year, acknowledged to the judge that some of the allegations of misconduct were true though he did not say which ones. He said his office did not agree with all of the accusations.

More than two dozen Navy officials, defense contractors and others have been convicted on various fraud and corruption charges in the case, which ran over years.

Defense attorneys for the four officers had spent more than a year challenging the convictions and accusing the prosecution of misconduct. It was the latest misstep in the case.

Leonard Francis, the defense contractor, fled from house arrest in San Diego a year ago. He was later captured in Venezuela, where he remains.

A decade ago, Francis was arrested in a San Diego hotel as part of a federal sting operation. Investigators say he and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, bilked the Navy out of more than $35 million by buying off dozens of top-ranking Navy officers with booze, sex, lavish parties and other gifts.

In exchange, the officers, including the first active-duty admiral to be convicted of a federal crime, concealed the scheme in which Francis would overcharge for supplying ships or charge for fake services at ports he controlled in Southeast Asia, investigators said.

The case, which delved into salacious details about service members cheating on their wives and seeking out prostitutes, was an embarrassment to the Pentagon. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office, which offered an independent authority from the military justice system.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Associated Press also left messages with three prosecutors involved in the case.

United States News

President Joe Biden speaks about the auto workers strike from the Roosevelt Room of the White House...

Brandon Gray

President Joe Biden arrives in Arizona, will honor John McCain in Tempe, road closures expected

Some park areas and roads around the Tempe Town Lake area will be temporarily impacted on Wednesday and Thursday in conjunction with the arrival of President Joe Biden in Arizona. 

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

Gang violence in Haiti is escalating and spreading with a significant increase in killings, UN says

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Gang violence in Haiti is escalating and spreading from the capital Port-au-Prince through the center of the country to its two other major cities, Gonaives and Cap-Hatien, with a significant increase in killings, kidnappings and rapes in the past few months, the U.N. chief said in a report circulated Wednesday. Secretary-General […]

1 hour ago

FILE-Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks with Strider Technologies, an AI-powered strategic intelligen...

Associated Press

Race to replace Mitt Romney heats up as Republican Utah House speaker readies to enter

Republican Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is poised to formally announce at a Wednesday night rally that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mitt Romney.

2 hours ago

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey arrives to the federal courthouse in New York, Wedn...

Associated Press

US Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to pocketing bribes in a wide-ranging corruption case

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to pocketing bribes of cash and gold bars in exchange for wielding his political influence to secretly advance Egyptian interests and do favors for local businessmen.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

ExxonMobil loses bid to truck millions of gallons of crude oil through central California

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — ExxonMobil lost a court bid Wednesday to truck millions of gallons of crude oil through central California — a crucial part of its efforts to restart offshore oil wells that were shut in 2015 after a pipeline leak caused the worst coastal spill in 25 years. A federal judge refused […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Man who accosted former Rep. Lee Zeldin at campaign stop pleads guilty in federal case

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A man who climbed the platform at a campaign event in western New York last year and grappled with Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a federal officer. David Jakubonis, 44, faces up to a year in prison and a hefty fine at […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.

...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Felony convictions vacated for 4 Navy officers in sprawling scandal