Thousands of documents, computer files slow military bribery case
SALT LAKE CITY — Defense attorneys and prosecutors in an alleged multimillion dollar military bribery case expect to plow through mountains of paperwork and thousands of computer files in preparing their cases.
To date, the U.S. Attorney's Office has identified as evidence 90,000 emails, 11,000 documents and 12,000 computer files of two or more pages each, federal prosecutor Cy Castle said during a hearing Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently trying to determine whether some of the documents should be classified, he said.
Defense attorney Raymond Mansolillo said he expects prosecutors to turn over a 250-gigabyte hard drive, which, if full, would take a year to go through.
"This is a complex case," Castle told U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell. "There is a lot of discovery that counsel is going to have to review."
"I can see you've got a lot of work to do," the judge replied.
Campbell has not set a trial date but scheduled monthly status conferences. "That way this does not fall between the cracks," she said, adding those meetings would move matters along.
The case involves five defendants and 83 criminal charges in two indictments.
Michael L. Taylor, of Harvard, Mass., Army Lt. Col David Young and one-time St. George resident Christopher Harris, a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, are charged in a 72-count indictment with bribing a public official, accepting of a bribe by a public official, money laundering and wire fraud.
Prosecutors allege Taylor, his business and others bribed Young to obtain a $54 million military training contract in Afghanistan. Court records say it was Harris’ banking habits in St. George that opened the case for federal investigators three years ago.
A separate indictment charges Taylor, former FBI agent Robert Lustyik, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and Johannes Thaler, of New Fairfield, Conn., with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.
Lustyik used his position in an attempt to derail a criminal investigation, according to the indictment. Taylor, a former Green Beret, allegedly offered Lustyik $200,000 in cash, money purportedly for the medical expenses of Lustyik’s minor child, and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.
Authorities say the former agent used Thaler, a childhood friend, as a go-between.
Determined by a federal magistrate to be a flight risk, Taylor remains in the Tooele County Jail pending trial. He has appealed his incarceration to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
At Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors raised questions about defense attorney Steven Brooks' relationship with Lustiyk.
Through a series of text messages and phone calls, Brooks unwittingly became involved in his attempt to undermine the investigation into Taylor, said prosecutor Maria Lerner. Brooks represents Taylor, owner of Boston-based American International Security Corp.
Campbell said she does not want to disqualify Brooks because Taylor has a Sixth Amendment right to the counsel of his choice.
Attorneys wrangled over whether Brooks would be called as a witness. In the end, all parties told Campbell that they don't intend to call him and would sign documents expressing that.
Campbell also held a hearing regarding Lustyik's attorney, Mansolillo. But she closed it to the press and public. Attorneys afterward said they couldn't discuss that part of the case.
The judge intends to rule on the matters Dec. 11.
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