As lawyers prepare for the upcoming drug conspiracy trial of former premier Andrew Fahie, prosecutors asked the judge overseeing the matter to preclude Mr. Fahie from arguing that the United States government induced him to commit the alleged crimes.
In a series of motions ahead of the trial, which is slated to start on Jan. 8 in Miami, attorneys from the US Department of Justice asked Judge Kathleen Williams for an order barring Mr. Fahie from using the defence of “entrapment.”
Mr. Fahie was arrested on April 28, 2022, during a sting operation setup by the US Drug Enforcement Administration that involved the use of both a confidential source and an undercover agent posing as members of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, according to prosecutors.
The former premier is accused of conspiring to allow cocaine trafficking through VI waters in exchange for a cut of the proceeds from future drug sales.
“At trial, the government expects that the defendant will try to assert an entrapment defence,” prosecutors wrote in a 17-page motion filed Tuesday.
According to that motion, proving entrapment would require Mr. Fahie to prove two elements: that there was “governmental inducement of the crime” and that he had a “lack of predisposition to commit the crime prior to inducement.”
“As a matter of fact and law, defendant cannot demonstrate governmental inducement or misconduct. He should be barred from raising an entrapment defence at trial,” prosecutors argued.
The law allows US government agents to use “artifice and strategy” in their investigation without rising to the level of entrapment, prosecutors argued.
“The government’s mere suggestion of a crime or initiation of contact is insufficient. Evidence that an agent simply sought out or initiated conduct with a defendant and proposed the illicit or ‘attractive’ transaction does not entitle a defendant to an entrapment instruction,” the motion states.
To support their argument, prosecutors described a series of meetings, messages and phone calls among Mr. Fahie, the DEA operatives, and his alleged co-conspirators: former BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, who is listed among the prosecutions’ witnesses, and her son Kadeem Maynard.
The evidence “will overwhelmingly demonstrate the defendant’s knowing and willful participation in the scheme before the defendant ever spoke with or had met” the DEA sources, prosecutors argued.
Prosecutors acknowledged in their filing that Mr. Fahie’s Florida attorney, Theresa Van Vliet, opposes the government’s motion to bar the use of an entrapment defence.
Ms. Van Vliet declined to comment on “pending matters,” telling the Beacon yesterday that any defence position will be filed “in line with the rules and requirements of the court.”
As of Beacon press time yesterday, she had not filed a response, and Judge Williams had not ruled on the government motion to bar the entrapment defence.
In an earlier motion, Ms. Van Vliet filed a list of 39 questions to be asked to potential jurors in the case.
Some of the questions probe the extent to which potential jurors have heard about the case in the media.
Others ask about their life experiences, their general opinions of politicians, and their interactions with the US legal system, among other topics.
“Has your knowledge about or familiarity with any of Mr. Fahie’s work in politics, or just the fact that Mr. Fahie has had a career in politics since 1995, caused you to form any opinions or impressions of Mr. Fahie?” one question asks.
If convicted, Mr. Fahie, who served as premier from 2019 until his removal shortly after his April 2022 arrest, could be sentenced to penalties as high as life in prison and a $10 million fine, according to his five-count indictment.
He could also face a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence if convicted of conspiracy to import a controlled substance.