Sep 25, 2019

Judge overturns guilty verdict of Michael Flynn's ex-business partner

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves court in Washington, D.C., in June. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A federal judge overturned a jury's guilty verdict Tuesday against Bijan Rafiekian, a former business associate of ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and a member of the Trump transition team, citing insufficient evidence.

Why it matters: Rafiekian's prosecution was one of 11 cases transferred by former special counsel Robert Mueller to other jurisdictions over the course of his investigation. Per the New York Times, the judge's decision "delivered a potentially fatal blow to the government’s efforts to prosecute [Rafiekian] in a case that had already suffered other setbacks."

  • CNN notes that the ruling may be a boost for Flynn, who's yet to be sentenced after pleading guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about the nature of his conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

The big picture: Rafiekian, also known as Bijan Kian, was found guilty in July of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Turkish government and lying about it to the Justice Department.

  • Flynn cooperated with prosecutors over the Mueller investigation and was due to testify about the role of Rafiekian in hiding Flynn Intel Group's illegal lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government. But the deal fell apart in July as a result of a dispute between prosecutors and Flynn's new attorneys, per Politico.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy