Discovery Woes Stall Trial of Navy Bribery Scandal

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Nine former high-ranking Navy officials must wait to face trial in a massive contract-bribery case, as a federal court judge on Friday delayed the case for six months as attorneys parse through thousands of discovery documents in the complex case.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino delayed setting trial for U.S. Navy Admiral Bruce Loveless, chief of staff to the Commander of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, and David Newland and seven other high-ranking officials until this fall. The attorneys requested the continuance, pointing to the complexity of the case, with literally terabytes of data to go through as they conduct discovery.

One of the defense attorneys told Sammartino there are 242 specified acts the nine defendants are accused of committing.

Loveless, Newland and the others are charged in a contract-bribe scandal where they’re accused of accepting luxury dinners, travel and sex parties with prostitutes in exchange for sharing classified information with foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis, according to court documents.

A few of the defendants – including Loveless – were at the hearing Friday. Newland and some others were absent, as their presence was waived.

The officials face various charges including bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, honest-services fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal officers.

They face up to decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

So far 25 people have been charged in connection with the fraud and corruption investigation into Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, for which Francis served as CEO.

Most of those charged are current or former U.S. Navy officials, and five are Glenn Defense Marine Asia executives.

Francis is accused of spending thousands of dollars bribing the Navy officials with extravagant meals of foie gras terrine, duck leg confit and oxtail soup, as well as “wild sex parties” in exchange for defense contracts to provide port services to U.S. Navy ships.

The U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet is the largest fleet, comprised of 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 sailors and Marines.  The fleet operates in the West Pacific Ocean throughout Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia and Russia as well as Indian Ocean territories.

The other defendants include Capts.  James Dolan, Donald Hornbeck and David Lausman; Marine Corps Col. Enrico DeGuzman; Cmdr. Mario Herrera; Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Shedd and Chief Warrant Officer Robert Gorsuch.

The hearing to set a trial date has been rescheduled for Sept. 22.


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