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United States v. Khan

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 10, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
FAREED AHMED KHAN, Defendant.

          ORDER RE PENDING MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.

         On September 6, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging defendant Fareed Ahmed Khan with a single count of knowingly and willfully making a materially false statement within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Doc. #58. In anticipation of trial, the parties have filed various motions in limine, and this ruling addresses the remaining motions.[1]

         Khan's motion to strike terrorism enhancement (Doc. #94).

         Khan moves to strike the portions of the indictment that allege the so-called “terrorism enhancement” to the false statement charge. See 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) (providing for a higher maximum sentence if the false statement “offense involves international or domestic terrorism”). Because the Government no longer opposes this motion, see Doc. #122 at 1-2, the Court GRANTS the motion and strikes those portions of the indictment that refer to terrorism or that relate to the terrorism enhancement in the false statement statute.

         Khan's motions to disclose identity of confidential informant (Docs. #95 and #99).

         Khan moves for the Government to disclose the identity of a confidential human source who made statements about him. Because the Government represents that it will not call the informant as a witness at trial, see Doc. #100 at 1, 6-7, or otherwise introduce any statements made by the informant in its case-in-chief, the Court DENIES the motions for lack of a showing of need for disclosure. In the event that Khan chooses to testify or present defense witnesses, and if the Government believes that any statements made by the confidential informant are proper grounds for impeachment or reference in any form at trial, the Government shall furnish adequate advance notice to Khan and to the Court of its request for leave to use such statements.

         Government's omnibus motion in limine (Doc. #109).

         The Government has filed an omnibus motion in limine that seeks the admission of several categories of evidence:

1. Evidence of dealings with Hussain Chippa and “hawala” relationship. The Government seeks to introduce evidence of Khan's dealings and transactions with Hussain Chippa and to refer to the nature of this relationship as a “hawala” or “hawaladar” relationship. Khan's extensive financial and commercial dealings with Chippa (and his third-party designees) is highly relevant to the Government's case-in-chief pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 401, especially with respect to the alleged false statement by Khan that “[t]he only packages he has ever sent to Pakistan were to his sister and brother and contained clothing.” Doc. #58 at 2. Moreover, in view of the unconventional nature of this financial and commercial relationship as well as Khan's agreement when interviewed that it was a “hawala” relationship, see Doc. #125-6 at 3, it is relevant and proper for the Government to refer to the relationship by the “hawala” name. The probative value of evidence relating to Khan's financial and commercial dealings with Chippa and of the reference to “hawala” is not substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 403. And to the extent that any of this evidence arguably falls with the scope of Fed.R.Evid. 404(b), the evidence is proper as it goes to Khan's intent and motive for making the allegedly false statements to the FBI. The parties have conditionally agreed upon a stipulation regarding “hawalas, ” see Doc. #122-1, and the jury will be instructed upon request that a “hawala” relationship is not inherently illegal and that it is for the jury to decide whether the nature of the relationship here was indeed a “hawala” relationship. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS the Government's omnibus motion in limine to the extent that the Government may introduce evidence of Khan's financial and commercial dealings with Chippa (and his third-party designees) that involved the shipment of packages to Pakistan and that the Government may refer to this relationship as a “hawala” relationship. In light of the Court's striking of the terrorism enhancement and the Government's declaration that it will not introduce evidence concerning terrorism or material support thereof in its case-in-chief, see Doc. #128 at 2, the Court DENIES the Government's motion in limine to the extent that the Government would seek to link any of this evidence to terrorism.
2. Selective prosecution. The Government moves in limine to preclude Khan from arguing that he was subject to investigation and prosecution on unconstitutional grounds such as his religion. The Court GRANTS this aspect of the Government's omnibus motion on the ground that Khan has not moved prior to trial and established the requisites for a selective-prosecution defense. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(3)(A); United States v. Farhane, 634 F.3d 127, 167 (2d Cir. 2011). This ruling is without prejudice to Khan's right to urge the jury that it should evaluate the evidence and base its decision in this case without respect to his race, national origin, religion, or any other protected ground.
3. Khan's proffer statements. The Government moves in limine to introduce Khan's proffer statements in the event that Khan opens the door to their admission. On August 2, 2019, the Court held a pre-trial conference with the parties and GRANTED the Government's omnibus motion as to proffered statements on the consent of the parties and subject to the Government's advance notice to Khan and the Court of its intention to use any such statements at trial so that the Court may determine whether there is a proper basis to do so. See Doc. #118.

         Khan's motion in limine to exclude hearsay statements (Doc. #113).

         Khan moves in limine to exclude statements on Facebook by his brother, Naveed Khan, as well as Khan's own statements to the Government's confidential informant. In light of the Government's stated position that it does not intend to introduce any of these statements or evidence about Naveed Khan's support for LeT or FIF, see Doc. #128 at 2, the Court DENIES this motion as moot.

         Khan's motion in limine re use of the term ...


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