Lerch Early Litigation Principal Stuart Berman has seen a lot in more than 35 years of prosecuting and defending federal criminal cases, but a recent case is up there in terms of sheer strangeness.
Berman’s client, Jolen Ghorbani, was the victim of kidnapping, assault, and battery. Four men pleaded guilty, but a fifth, Tray Sherman, insisted on a trial. Afraid that Sherman’s associates might harm him, Ghorbani then attempted to bribe Sherman over Instagram, and in exchange, “finesse trial” in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
Berman quickly worked out a plea agreement allowing his client to seek a vastly reduced sentence, and then successfully argued that his client should not be subject to normal sentencing guidelines for bribing a witness, which treat the defendant as an accessory to the original crime (in this case, his own kidnapping and assault), according to The Washington Post.
At the sentencing hearing on February 24, Ghorbani was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release, more than 80% lower than the recommended guidelines of 100-125 months (8+ years). Berman called the outcome “very favorable.”
“This is one of the strangest cases in the history of that courthouse,” Berman told The Washington Post, adding that he’s “certainly never seen a case with these kinds of facts before.”
You can read the full Post article here: “He threatened his kidnapper on Instagram. They both got prison time.“
After decades of experience as a federal prosecutor and now as counsellor to businesses and individuals facing criminal investigation or civil enforcement action, Stuart Berman brings to his white-collar criminal defense, civil litigation, and appellate practice the ability to analyze cases dispassionately while providing clients with the proper balance of empathy and candid advice. You can reach Stuart at 301-657-0729 or by email at [email protected].