Did you know that Iran attacked us on September 11? No, neither did I, but Judge Richard Leon apparently thinks so, because 9-11 appears to be the central reason he rejected the Deferred Prosecution Agreement in the case against Fokker Services BV for exporting U.S. origin aircraft parts to Iran. Seriously.
Back in July of this year, I speculated that the DPA was headed for difficulty because there was, apparently, an argument that the Government learned about Fokker’s exports to Iran from Robert Kraaipoel, a Dutch businessman who was indicted for selling U.S. origin items to Iran. Judge Leon has apparently convinced himself now that the voluntary disclosure was indeed voluntary and not prompted by Kraaipoel’s cooperation with the Government. At least that’s how I read footnote 4 to the Order.
Instead, Leon now rejects the DPA as too lenient because of 9/11 and Iran’s heretofore unknown role in that terror attack:
Here, Fokker Services is charged with a five-year conspiracy to violate and evade United States export laws for the benefit, largely, of Iran and its military during the post-9/11 world when we were engaged in a two—front War against terror in the Middle East.
Just in case you think Judge Leon was joshing when he linked Iran and 9/11, he makes the point a second time:
[A]fter looking at the DPA in its totality, I cannot help but conclude that the DPA presented here is grossly disproportionate to the gravity of Fokker Services’ conduct in a post-9/11 world. In my judgment, it would undermine the public’s confidence in the administration of justice and promote disrespect for the law for it to see a defendant prosecuted so ancmically for engaging in such egregious conduct for such a sustained period of time and for the benefit of one of our country’s worst enemies.
So, in the end, Fokker’s voluntary disclosure, its cooperation with the government, its remedial actions mean nothing because, you know, Iran was somehow or other involved in September 11.