Continuing a trend toward greater judicial scrutiny of Department of Justice (DOJ) plea agreements first seen in the district court’s action in the Fokker case, Ed Kinkeade, a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, revised the guilty plea submitted to him by ZTE and the DOJ to reject the corporate monitor agreed to by both ZTE and the DOJ and instead add that the “monitor is a judicial adjunct pursuant to Federal Rule Procedure 53.”

In place of the monitor proposed by ZTE and DOJ, the Judge selected former Texas state district court judge, James Stanton. Judge Kinkeade also revised the agreement to ensure the court has a more active role in several ways including: (a) removing DOJ’s role in reviewing the monitor’s workplan, which will now be written by the court, (b) indicating the monitor will report to the court, and (c) clarifying that the court, not DOJ, “shall decide any disputed issues between the Monitor, the Company, and the Department.”

In light of the settlement of administrative and criminal enforcement actions against ZTE, the End-User Review Committee (ERC) at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) removed both companies from the Entity List on March 29.