Tag: Ben Kuehne

Feds Dismiss Money Laundering Case Against Miami Lawyer

Congrats to Ben Kuehne. After two years of being under federal indictment for money laundering resulting from legal advice he gave regarding accepting legal fees from a cocaine trafficker, the Government moved today to dismiss the case, with prejudice.

Federal authorities decided to give up their closely watched case against Ben Kuehne, who advised defense attorney Roy Black to accept $5.2 million in payments from defendant Fabio Ochoa after concluding the money was clean.

Prosecutors said they dismissed the indictment against Kuehne -- citing ``the interests of justice'' -- mainly because of the recent loss of a crucial appeal over a money-laundering charge that was the backbone of their case, according to a court filing.

Kuehne's reaction: [More...]

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11th Cir. Invalidates Money Laundering Charge Against Defense Lawyer Over Fees

Good news for Ben Kuehne and the defense bar today. The 11th Circuit has upheld the trial court's dismissal of a money laundering charge against prominent defense attorney Ben Kuehne. (Background here.) The opinion is here. The SDFla Blog has more here.

The issue was the the meaning of the exemption in § 1957(f)(1), whose plain language excludes from the statute’s scope “any transaction necessary to preserve a person’s right to representation as guaranteed by the sixth amendment to the Constitution.” Both sides agreed the funds in question were used to pay attorneys' fees. [More...]

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11th Cir. Oral Argument in Ben Kuehne Money Laundering Case

Ben Kuehne, as I've written before, is a leading criminal defense lawyer in Miami. The Government charged him with money laundering and related crimes. He moved to dismiss arguing the exception in 18 USC Section 1957 prevents the government from indicting a criminal defense lawyer for taking payment from a client. The district court agreed and dismissed the count. The Government appealed. The trial court's order is here(pdf).

Oral arguments were this morning and David Markus at the SDFla blog has an excellent recap. While one can never predict how an appellate court will rule from oral arguments, it appears the panel was all over the Government and favorable to Ben's position. David thinks the court will uphold the dismissal.

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Justice Department Indicts Respected Miami Lawyer

What an outrage. The Justice Department has indicted one of Miami's leading, most well-respected, ethical lawyers, Ben Kuehne, on charges of money laundering.

Ben Kuehne, a widely respected Miami lawyer whose clients have included former Vice President Al Gore and other major politicians, surrendered Thursday on federal criminal charges for his behind-the-scenes role in a complex international drug-trafficking case.

An indictment, unsealed at his morning court appearance, charges Kuehne in a money-laundering conspiracy with approving tainted legal payments by an accused Colombian drug kingpin to his defense attorney in Miami.

The Indictment is here (pdf). What jumped out at me was Paragraph 15, alleging a substantial amount of the funds that were the subject of Ben's opinion letters to Ochoa's lawyers came not from the clean business of an Ochoa relative as set forth in Ben's letter, but from five undercover law enforcement operations the Government had in place in New York and Miami. [More...]

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