The Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped charges Monday against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s previous business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, according to a court filing.
Prosecutors alleged Rafiekian secretly lobbied for Turkey in 2016 without registering as a foreign agent while he was an executive for Flynn Intel Group. The DOJ’s decision to drop charges puts an end to the five-year-old case, which stems from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, according to CNN.
“After carefully considering the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in this case and the principles of federal prosecution, the United States believes it is not in the public interest to pursue the case against defendant Bijan Rafiekian further,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
Rafiekian was convicted by a jury in 2019, but Judge Anthony Trenga tossed the conviction due to “insufficient” evidence. The case then spent years in the appeals process, according to CNN.
“The strongest inference to be drawn from the evidence as a whole is that to the extent Turkey had recruited anyone as its agent, it was not Rafiekian, but Flynn because of his stature and his connections to then Presidential candidate Donald Trump,” Trenga wrote in a March 2022 ruling, according to The Washington Post.
Rafiekian’s attorney Mark MacDougall told the Post the case “should never have been indicted.”
“Mr. Rafiekian has been the target of baseless federal prosecution for the past five years, only because he made the poor decision to be in business with Michael Flynn,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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