Maybe he just happens to take on a lot of cases that are unwinnable…
Or maybe he just doesn’t mind seeing his clients go to prison if he thinks they’re actually guilty…
Whatever it is, high-priced criminal defense attorney Marc Agnifilo has seemed pretty sanguine of late as one after another of his clients has been found guilty or pleaded out to serious crimes.
Some Of Agnifilo’s Recent Cases
When Martin Shkreli AKA Pharma Bro was found guilty on three fraud counts, Agnifilo emphasized the fact that he had been acquitted on five others. Shkreli, who did not put on any defense, ended up being sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
Later, when Keith Raniere AKA The Vanguard was found guilty on all seven charges he was facing, Agnifilo comforted one of his victims by saying “I hope some good feeling somehow comes out of it.” Raniere, who also did not put on any defense, is currently awaiting sentencing.
And just last week, when Jacob Kingston admitted to defrauding the U.S. of $512 million in renewable-fuel tax credits, Agnifilo noted “We are hoping that he and his family are shown leniency by pleading guilty before trial. He just wants to get this situation behind him.”
No Defense Seems To Be Agnifilo’s Favorite Strategy
It is not at all uncommon for the defendant in a criminal trial not to testify on their own behalf.
The reasons that are most often cited by defense attorneys for that decision include the following:
(1) The burden of proof rests with the prosecution to prove the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
(2) The defendant waives his right against self-incrimination if he takes the witness stand – and can no longer “plead the Fifth”.
(3) Cross-examination can be brutal – and can uncover additional crimes that have not yet been charged.
(4) Other witnesses can testify on behalf of the defendant.
(5) Some defendants simply refuse to testify.
But putting on no defense at all is always risky.
It basically means that the defendant’s fate is entirely dependent on three things: the opening argument; the cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses; and the closing argument.
Like Dirty Harry said: “Do you feel lucky, punk”
Jacob Kingston And “The Order”
Agnifilo’s latest case is almost as bizarre as the Raniere/NXIVM case.
His client, Jacob Kingston, is one of four family members who were charged with defrauding the U.S. government.
Kingston, the CEO of Washakie Renewable Energy, admitted during his allocution that his company had falsely claimed it had produced or blended biodiesel fuel that qualified for tax credits.
He also admitted that he had laundered more than $100 million in proceeds from the fraud through Turkey – and that he had tampered with several potential witnesses in his case.
The other family members who were part of the fraudulent scheme were his wife, Sally; his brother, Isaiah; and his mother, Rachel.
All four of the defendants are members of the Davis County Cooperative Society – which is generally referred to as “The Order” and which is one of the largest Mormon polygamous clans in the U.S.
As part of the plea deal, Kingston and his other family members have agreed to pay back $512 million – and forfeit the Washakie Renewable Energy plant, dozens of properties in Utah and Turkey, several luxury cars, and various bank accounts.
The remaining defendant in the case is Lev Derman, an Armenian immigrant who owns a string of gas stations throughout Southern California. He is being represented by Mark Geragos – and is scheduled to go to trial on August 9th.
The Order Makes Raniere Look Like A Piker
The 10,000 members of The Order own more than 100 businesses – including a casino in Southern California, a cattle ranch on the Nevada border, and a tactical-arms company that specializes in semiautomatic weapons.
Prosecutors had claimed in various court filings that The Order had engaged in many crimes throughout the years.
“The Order also promotes a practice of ‘bleeding the beast,’ wherein Order members are encouraged to obtain as much money as possible from local, state and federal government agencies for the benefit of the Order, because of the fear that the government will seek to punish them for their way of life,” prosecutors wrote last month in one court filing.
It is not known whether women members of The Order have their pussies branded.