The Department of Justice is dropping one of the last prosecutions related to alleged foreign interference in Donald Trump's first presidential election.
Prosecutors indicated in a court filing Monday they're ending their case against California businessman Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn who had been charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey, reported Politico.
"After carefully considering the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in this case and the principles of federal prosecution, the United States believes it is not in the public interest to pursue the case against defendant Bijan Rafiekian further,” wrote prosecutors from Justice’s National Security Division and the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria.
Rafiekian was convicted on two felony counts in 2019, but U.S. District Court judge Anthony Trenga, who presided over the weeklong trial, became convinced the verdict was not justified by the evidence that prosecutors presented, so he set aside the verdicts.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Trenga's ruling in 2021 and the following year the judge granted him a new trial, but prosecutors appealed that decision, and the court issued a 2-1 ruling in May of this year allowing the new trial ruling to stand. That was scheduled for Oct. 30.
Prosecutors, however, called for the case against Rafiekian to be dismissed "with prejudice," which means it cannot be refiled.
Rafiekian served as an adviser to the Trump transition team in 2016 and worked alongside Trump's first national security adviser in the consulting firm Flynn Intel Group.