Mich. Man in Terror Trial Seeks Closure on Alleged Insurance Fraud Case

July 14, 2008

A Michigan man whose conviction on terror-related charges was thrown out in 2004 is working on a plea agreement to close a case involving allegations of insurance fraud.

The disclosure was made in federal court on July 11 by an attorney for Karim Koubriti. Court filings show U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen recently postponed a possible trial until July 29 to allow time for a deal.

In 2003, Koubriti, a North African immigrant, was convicted of conspiring to aid terrorists, an outcome that was celebrated by the Bush administration as a key victory against terrorism.

But the conviction was tossed in 2004 after the U.S. Justice Department said prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense.

Koubriti was subsequently hit with a new charge: conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Prosecutors allege he falsely told an insurance company in 2001 that he was injured in a car crash.

“Mr. Koubriti will be pleading guilty to a misdemeanor,” attorney Ben Gonek told a judge.

Koubriti’s defense attorney, Richard Helfrick, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, Gina Balaya, said: “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Gonek represents Koubriti in a civil lawsuit against Richard Convertino, who was the prosecutor in the botched terror trial, and FBI agent Michael Thomas.

Gonek’s disclosure Friday came during arguments over whether Convertino is immune from the lawsuit. Koubriti is seeking $9 million, claiming a violation of his constitutional rights.

The arguments centered mostly on whether legal precedent allows someone to pursue civil damages against a prosecutor in federal court.

Convertino’s attorney, Robert Mullen, warned that the lawsuit could have a chilling effect on law enforcement.

“We would not want to interfere with the prosecutorial function,” replied U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani, who didn’t make an immediate decision.

In 2007, Convertino and a State Department investigator were acquitted of conspiring to hide evidence in Koubriti’s criminal case. He no longer is a federal prosecutor.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.