A Miami federal court bumped ex-premier Andrew Fahie’s trial for the third time on June 23 after he requested more time to prepare while he seeks the identity of the informant who allegedly recorded him plotting to ship cocaine through Virgin Islands waters on the way to the United States.
Mr. Fahie’s Florida lawyer filed the unopposed request on June 20, and Judge Kathleen Williams moved the trial from mid-July to Jan. 8, according to an order filed following a closed-door Zoom status conference on June 23.
When requesting the extension, Mr. Fahie’s lawyer, Theresa Van Vliet, asked that the trial be moved to November or later.
“The government has not yet disclosed the identity of the confidential source” who allegedly recorded Mr. Fahie, Ms. Van Vliet wrote in the June 20 motion. “As previously noted, Mr. Fahie contends that he needs the information in order to file certain pre-trial motions.”
The government, meanwhile, was awaiting a court order before disclosing the source’s identity, and it had not yet decided whether to call the source as a witness, according to the filing.
The June 20 motion — which the government did not oppose — also noted other delays in prosecutors’ production of various material during the discovery process.
“For these several reasons, the undersigned does not have adequate time to prepare for a trial in this case in mid-July 2023, nor to address any pretrial filings until the government completes its discovery obligations and until such time as the court may rule on the pending filings relating to the identity of the confidential informant,” the filing stated.
The delay was the trial’s third.
Following Mr. Fahie’s arrest on April 28, 2022, he initially was scheduled to face trial starting on July 18, 2022 alongside former BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard and her son Kadeem Maynard, who are also accused of taking part in the cocaine-trafficking conspiracy.
But that month, the court agreed to the defendants’ unopposed request to reschedule to Jan. 17 to give them more time to prepare.
Last November, Mr. Fahie requested a second extension, noting that a Nov. 9 superseding indictment against him and Ms. Maynard added a new count — “interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering” — in addition to the three they were already facing along with Mr. Maynard: conspiracy to import a controlled substance, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and attempted money laundering.
In part because of the new charge, Ms. Van Vliet argued that Mr. Fahie needed additional time to prepare.
In her Nov. 28 filing, the attorney also noted the prosecution’s delays in processing recordings included in the evidence against Mr. Fahie and his co-defendants.
“The government is still in the process of transcribing the voluminous audio recordings in this matter,” Ms. Van Vliet wrote at the time.
She also stated then that prosecutors had not disclosed information about the confidential source despite her Oct. 13 request for details “including but not limited to verification” of the source’s identity.
Because of the government’s “refusal to confirm, or refute, the identity of the confidential source,” the attorney wrote, she needed to submit the matter to the court.
Ms. Van Vliet added that she also anticipated filing “subsequent substantive motions with constitutional underpinnings upon verification of the confidential informant’s identity.”
She pledged not to identify the informant in any public filing.
On Dec. 6, the court granted the second motion to delay the trial, which was pushed to the two-week trial period starting July 17.
Mr. Van Vliet’s June 20 motion also shed some light on several sealed documents filed in recent months.
On Feb. 1, for instance, Mr. Fahie filed a sealed motion requesting “an order directing the government to respond to [his] repeated requests for exculpatory and impeachment information related to the confidential source,” the filing stated.
On Feb. 10, it added, the government again declined, and the issue was discussed in a March 10 hearing.
“Subsequently, on April 27, 2023, the court heard Mr. Fahie’s supporting arguments in a sealed ex parte meeting,” Ms. Van Vliet’s motion stated. “The government also prepared ex parte submissions to the court concerning the disclosure issue.”
Therefore, the attorney added, Mr. Fahie’s sealed motion and the response and reply had not been resolved, and the June 16 “deadline for the government to provide the requested information [had] passed under the terms of the protective order.”
Other discovery was also expected by July 4 relating to the Maynards, who both pleaded guilty on June 12 to conspiracy to import a controlled substance, according to the June 20 motion.
As part of their plea deal, the Maynards also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and admitted that they conspired with Mr. Fahie last year on a plan to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the US through VI waters.
Their sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 21.
On June 26, two other sealed filings were entered into the court docket for Mr. Fahie’s case.