DOJ Once Thought It Had Victory Against Trump Ally, Years Later It's Being Forced to Drop the Case and Turn Him Loose


It was supposed to be one of the few victories the Department of Justice could claim in its investigation into purported foreign influence over Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Now, the prosecution is giving up and letting the defendant free.

According to Politico, in a Monday court filing, prosecutors said they were abandoning any attempts to prosecute Bijan Rafiekian, or Kian, an ally and business partner of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, for being an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey.

The Associated Press noted the charges were originally filed in 2018 as an ancillary part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russiagate.

“Prosecutors alleged that Kian and Flynn, who were partners in an entity called the Flynn Intel Group, were acting at Turkey’s behest when they undertook a project to discredit exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen,” the AP reported.

“Gulen has been sought for extradition from the U.S. by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who blames Gulen for an attempted coup in that country.”

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However, even though a jury found against him at trial, a judge overturned the verdict.

“It’s a bitter pill for prosecutors who convinced a jury in Alexandria, Va., to return two felony guilty verdicts against Rafiekian — better known as Kian — following a week-long trial in 2019 and only about four hours of deliberations. Rafiekian chose not to take the stand during the trial,” Politico reported.

“However, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga — who presided over the trial — soon became convinced that the guilty verdicts were not justified by the evidence prosecutors presented. He set aside the verdicts two months later, prompting years of additional litigation that included two trips to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

In 2021, a Richmond-based circuit court sided with the prosecution and dismissed Trenga’s dismissal, although their ruling left Trenga with the option to declare a new trial.

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In 2022, Trenga did just that, saying that prosecutors relied on only “the weakest inference” to make their case against Kian.

The Department of Justice apparently wasn’t willing to use the feebly backed away from the case in their Monday filing.

“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,” wrote prosecutors from Justice’s National Security Division and the U.S. attorney’s office in a statement.

Needless to say, Kian’s attorneys were in a celebratory mood, although they castigated the DOJ for targeting their client.

“The Justice Department has finally conceded that this case should never have been indicted,” said defense lawyer Mark MacDougall in a statement after the DOJ announced it wasn’t going forward with prosecution.

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“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. Along with his family and his lawyers, Bijan is particularly grateful to the Court for its unwavering commitment to equity and for ensuring that justice would be done,” MacDougall noted.

The move essentially closes down the most fruitless legal fishing expedition since Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination indictments; there remains no evidence collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia ever occurred, despite an unprecedented FISA warrant and special counsel investigation.

What did they find? A whole lot of nothing. Even Robert Mueller, appearing before Congress to explain his final report in the matter, looked as if he was thoroughly unclear why he was even there in the first place.

That hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theories. For a certain brand of liberal, there’s near certainty that an ugly cabal which included the Kremlin, the Erdogan regime and Belarusian bot farms diligently plotted to steal what was rightfully Hillary Clinton’s. After all, she posted this on Twitter just before the election — so it must be true!

There was no grand scheme between foreign powers that installed Donald Trump in the White House, no matter how many times Rachel Maddow rants about it. The jig was up long ago, and the last people to leave the party seem to be the prosecutors in the Kian case, who apparently had nothing better to do than drag this apparently lifeless case out. Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence.

And people wonder why conservatives don’t trust the establishment — particularly politically weaponized cases from corners of the FBI and DOJ that are determined to nail something on Trump or his allies without checking whether the facts support the charges.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture