A U.S. judge overseeing a case against Turkish banker over violating U.S. sanctions against Iran has refused a motion by defense attorneys for a mistrial.
Judge Richard Berman rejected a request by lawyers of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey’s Halkbank is charged by U.S. prosecutors of helping Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab in his gold-for-oil scheme, for a mistrial.
Mr. Atilla who testified in the court on Friday rejected that he conspired with Mr. Zarrab, the businessman who became a witness in the case and refused all charges.
When laywer Cathy Fleming asked him that whether he engaged in “economic jihad” on behalf of Iran, he steadfastly dismissed that accusation. Mr. Atilla said he first time heard the phrase during the trial.
After former Turkish police investigator Huseyin Korkmaz testified at the court, his lawyers again pressed for a mistrial, arguing that the Mr. Korkmaz’s testimony was irrelevant to the defendant.
The gist of the argument presented by Mr. Atilla’s lawyers was that the prosecution failed to prove that he knew about the sanctions-evasion scheme.
1/2 Lawyers for Turkish banker Hakan Atilla, who is being tried in the Iran sanctions case in NY, have asked the judge to acquit Atilla even before case goes to the jury. They said the prosecution had "failed to prove" Atilla knew of any US connection to Reza #Zarrab 's scheme.
— Benjamin Weiser (@BenWeiserNYT) December 15, 2017
The judge dismissed the request. For the request of acquittal, the judge called on the prosecution to respond on Saturday by 5:00 p.m.