For Gerald and Patricia Green’s bribery and money-laundering case, it’s not over until Judge George Wu says it’s over.
Though the couple was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, the judge postponed the action — yet again — until April 29. Six months after the couple was convicted, Wu said he wanted another hearing for lawyers to present more arguments.
Department of Justice authorities said the couple used $1.8 million to bribe Thai authorities from 2002 to 2006, when the couple ran the Bangkok International Film Festival. The Greens were found guilty in September of 2009 of bribery and money laundering under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Watching the 90-minute session today in Judge Wu’s in LA’s downtown federal courthouse, it would be easy to think this was an April Fool’s joke gone off the rails, or that an actual trial and judgment had never happened. Both U.S. attorneys and defense lawyers seemed to re-argue the entire case, point-by-point, on isues of motivation, damages, medical condition, financial loss and gain, and sentencing guideline calculations.
Somberly dressed in black, both Gerald and Patricia Green say silently throughout the proceedings. The 78-year-old Gerald Green, who had an oxygen tune connected to his nose, only spoke once, to confer with his wife and his attorney Jerome Mooney about upcoming court dates. Because of the charges they face and their advanced age, they face the possibility of life in prison.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which became law in 1977, prohibits American citizens and corporations from making an offer or payment to foreign officials to gain an advantage in business. The Greens are the first members of the entertainment industry to be prosecuted under the act.
The government asserted that the Greens created shell companies to pay Juthamas Siriwan, the former governor of Thailand¹s Tourism Authority, and her family. U.S. Attorneys contended that the result of the payments was that the Greens received $14 million in government contracts and grants for the festival.
Sentencing has been delayed on several occasions because Wu wanted more information from the government on how Thailand had been actually harmed by the incidents, what the history of sentencing in similar bribery cases and a detailed medical history of Gerald Green.
Mooney maintains that his client didn’t bribe anyone, but sought contracts fairly in the environment in which such business is conducted.
"The movie industry has good cause to be somewhat fearful of the way the administration may or may not choose to utilize this law," Mooney told TheWrap back in August.