SAN DIEGO — Four of five former Navy officers charged with accepting bribes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard'' Francis were convicted Wednesday, June 29 by a San Diego federal jury.
Prosecutors allege the defendants, former members of the U.S. Navy's
Seventh Fleet, took bribes in exchange for providing Francis with classified
information regarding ship schedules. They then used their positions in the Navy to influence the movements of ships to ports serviced by Francis' Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA). Prosecutors allege GDMA overbilled the Navy by more than $35 million to provide husbanding services.
The trial, which began in February, resulted in convictions for conspiracy, bribery, and other charges against former Cmdr. Mario Herrera and
former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict against former Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless.
Loveless' attorney, Thomas O'Brien tells CBS 8 that this shows the lack of strength in the government's case against his client.
"[Loveless] is gratified, pleased the jury listened to us, allowed us to take apart the evidence. Clearly, a number of the jurors decided there was insufficient evidence, as we believe, to convict Bruce Loveless on any of the counts," said O'Brien.
During the hearing, O'Brien requested the case be dismissed against his client. However, prosecutors objected. Both sides will file motions and return to court at a later date.
A sentencing hearing for the four Navy officers who were found guilty is set for October.
The U.S. Attorney's Office alleged that, in exchange for steering
business toward GDMA, the officers accepted expensive meals, fancy hotel
accommodations, and the services of prostitutes, all on Francis' dime.
Prosecutors said the men operated at Francis' beck and call, referring to him
in correspondence as "Admiral", "Emperor", and "Boss.''
Francis and more than two dozen others have pleaded guilty in
connection with the case. Many of those who pleaded guilty testified at trial,
though Francis, who has not yet been sentenced, was not called to the stand as initially planned.
Defense attorneys for the former officers argued that Francis and others who pleaded guilty implicated their clients to avoid harsher punishment.
They also alleged their clients lacked the ability to influence Navy procedures
to the degree prosecutors claimed, and that any relationship they may have had with Francis was above board.