Nicholas May Soon Fly On Gulfstream G-IV
In a decision which could have wide-ranging implications for US
law enforcement at all levels, US District Judge Cormac Carney told
prosecutors pursuing drug and investment charges against Broadcom
executive Henry T. Nicholas III that they went too far in seizing
his Gulfstream G-IV and threatening to impound it indefinitely.
As ANN reported last week, the California
businessman asked the court's permission for his family to continue
flying the Gulfstream, even after the high-dollar bizjet was seized
in July over charges it was used to transport narcotics.
The 1993 Gulfstream, registry N2107Z, was seized in a July 16
raid at John Wayne Airport. The FBI asserts Nicholas
"...distributed ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and other
controlled substances from 1999 to 2007, and used the G-IV to
transport controlled substances to various locations, both
domestically and internationally, for further distribution,"
according to court documents.
Nicholas' attorneys responded even if that were the case --
which, they assert, it's not -- the jet should not have been seized
over allegations alone. On Monday, Judge Carney agreed.
"It's not evidence," he said. "It's been used by so many
different people. Whatever testing should have been done was done.
Why does the government need this airplane?"
The Los Angeles Times reports the dispute over the seized
property, and specifically its status as evidence in the case,
represents a potential dilemma for prosecutors.
By going after Nicholas's homes and the plane, they face the
possibility that defense attorneys may demand to see any evidence
implicating the plane was used to carry drugs. That could allow the
defense an early look at the prosecution's strategy.
Judge Carney isn't giving prosecutors much time to pick their
next move. He wants the government to return the plane