While awaiting trial for conspiracy drug and money laundering charges, former premier Andrew Fahie is being held in the general population at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where family visitations have been suspended as Covid-19 cases rise, according to newly released court documents.
On Monday, Mr. Fahie’s attorney Theresa Van Vliet tried once more to get her client released, continuing a battle with United States prosecutors over Mr. Fahie’s bond offer.
In her Monday response to prosecutors’ May 11 motion to revoke the bond, Ms. Van Vliet claimed that the US’ arguments for Mr. Fahie’s detention are based on unproven allegations that are sometimes inconsistent.
“At this juncture, he enjoys the presumption of innocence, and there has been no evidence outside of this case to support the government’s allegation of a habitual disregard for the law,” Ms. Van Vliet wrote.
A magistrate judge offered Mr. Fahie a $500,000 corporate surety bond during a May 4 hearing, but prosecutors the next day filed a notice of appeal, and the bond has since been stayed despite multiple attempts by Ms. Van Vliet to secure Mr. Fahie’s release pending trial.
Ms. Van Vliet’s and the prosecution’s latest jabs over Mr. Fahie’s detention come on the heels of a Florida grand jury’s three-count indictment against Mr. Fahie and his two co-defendants.
According to that indictment, Mr. Fahie, BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, and her son Kadeem Maynard are charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and attempted money laundering.
These charges differ slightly from those in the April 28 complaint against the defendants, which were conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.
Motion to revoke
In his May 11 motion to revoke the bond, US Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez alleged that Mr. Fahie presents a flight risk and danger to the community — allegations that prosecutors have made in previous legal filings and court appearances as well.
“His release would result in a danger to the community by allowing for continued drug trafficking from the BVI to the United States,” Mr. Gonzalez wrote.
However, he added, “The most concerning issue with [Mr. Fahie] is the severe risk of flight he poses if released.”
Given the lengthy sentence Mr. Fahie could face if convicted, his likely lack of a political future, and his “extremely limited connections” to south Florida — Mr. Fahie’s daughters live in a rented apartment and remotely attend schools in Pennsylvania — the former premier has compelling reasons to abscond, Mr. Gonzalez claimed.
He also alleged that it would be easy for Mr. Fahie to get away, noting that the former premier has previously discussed using private vessels and planes and his connections to fixers and smugglers.
“South Florida is dotted with unmonitored marinas and private airports,” Mr. Gonzalez wrote. “If released, [Mr. Fahie] is one snipped ankle monitor away from disappearing forever.”
But Ms. Van Vliet stated Monday that Mr. Fahie has no intention of fleeing, and that a bond would secure his appearance in court.
Prosecutors, she claimed, had tried to downplay his ties to South Florida and unfairly painted his travel history as evidence of his predisposition to flee.
Their presumptions, she argued, ignore “the fact that the overwhelming majority of such travel, primarily in the Caribbean, was related to official business undertaken by Mr. Fahie in his previous role as the premier of the BVI.”
She also claimed that her arguments were buttressed by “discrepancies” in prosecutors’ previous filings.
According to the attorney, prosecutors described the origin of the sting operation that led to Mr. Fahie’s arrest differently in their motion to revoke the bond than in their April 28 complaint, and did not offer any explanation for this apparent change in narrative.
In arguing that there is legal precedent for Mr. Fahie’s bond release, she pointed to a recent case involving child pornography and enticement in which the allegations were heinous and the prosecution’s evidence strong.
Nonetheless, “there were still conditions that could be imposed to assure the defendant’s presence,” Ms. Van Vliet stated, adding that “the court considered allegations that carried the presumption of flight and danger to the community.”
She then quoted a court ruling in that case: “‘Even if there is a risk of nonappearance and/or a risk of danger to the community, detention is only warranted if those risks cannot be sufficiently mitigated by conditions of release.’”
The ruling, she said, added, “‘Those risks need not be mitigated completely. A person cannot be detained if there are conditions that would reasonably assure their appearance and the safety of the community.’”
That defendant was released on a $100,000 personal surety bond co-signed by their parents and placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring, Ms. Van Vliet noted, adding that Mr. Fahie “has the most restrictive bond possible.”
Besides a $500,000 corporate surety bond, he would be required to wear a GPS monitor and reside under “24-hour lockdown,” the attorney wrote. “For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Fahie respectfully requests that the motion be denied and respectfully requests this court to order [him] released on the conditions set by the magistrate judge or upon such additional conditions as the court may deem proper,” Ms. Van Vliet added.