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Judge dismisses Azusa company's corruption convictions

Justice Department prosecutors are faulted for a host of misdeeds that prevented the top two executives of Lindsey Manufacturing Co. from getting a fair trial in foreign bribery case.

December 02, 2011|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

A federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the corruption convictions of the top two executives of Azusa power equipment company Lindsey Manufacturing Co., saying Justice Department prosecutors committed a host of misdeeds that prohibited the defendants from a fair trial.

In a lengthy and scathing ruling, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz said government attorneys allowed an FBI agent to present false testimony to a grand jury, inserted false statements into search warrant applications and unlawfully intercepted emails between a defendant and a defense attorney.

Matz said the misconduct was so flagrant that prosecutors should not be permitted to retry company executives Keith Lindsey and Steve K. Lee.

"Dr. Lindsey and Mr. Lee were put through a severe ordeal. Charges were filed against them as a result of a sloppy, incomplete and notably overzealous investigation," Matz said.

In May, a federal jury convicted Lindsey and Lee of violating federal law by paying an intermediary to bribe officials with a state-owned power company in Mexico in order to obtain the company's business.

Defense attorney Jan L. Handzlik said he was pleased by the judge's decision.

"This is a great day for Keith Lindsey and Steve Lee. They never once wavered in their belief of their innocence," Handzlik said.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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