Pakistani Returns to Face Charges

Los Angeles: A Pakistani businessman accused of illegally funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the political campaigns of US Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) surrendered to the FBI on a year-old indictment last Tuesday, then collapsed in Los Angeles federal court, Los Angeles Times reported.
Looking tired and disoriented, Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, complained of chest pains and began shaking an hour into a contentious bond hearing before US Magistrate Judge Patrick J Walsh. The judge interrupted the hearing for nearly 30 minutes while paramedics attended to Jinnah.
After Jinnah’s condition was stabilized and he was taken to a local hospital for an examination, Walsh set bond at $300,000. The drama unfolded shortly after Jinnah, who has a history of heart problems and diabetes, flew back to the US from Pakistan to answer charges by a grand jury that he engineered illicit donations to Clinton’s political action committee and Boxer’s 2004 re-election campaign.
Officials from both campaigns have said they were unaware of the alleged wrongdoing and returned the contributions. At Tuesday’s hearing, Assistant US Atty Dennis Mitchell urged the judge to deny Jinnah bond, arguing that he was a “tremendous flight risk” with a long history of financial misconduct that included five bankruptcy filings that had been dismissed by the courts.
But Jinnah’s attorney, former federal prosecutor Douglas Fuchs, said that was “absurd,” noting that his client had voluntarily surrendered and faced only one to two years in prison if convicted. Fuchs said his client went to Pakistan last year to tend to his ill mother and delayed his return because of his own health problems.
Fuchs said his client did not know the indictment had been returned against him in May 2006 when he flew to Pakistan later the same month. It was near the close of Tuesday’s hearing, during a discussion of his assets and setting bond, that Jinnah, handcuffed and behind a glass partition, suddenly fell back in his chair. After paramedics whisked Jinnah to a hospital, defense attorneys Fuchs, Thomas Holliday and Robert C Bonner assured the judge that the proceeding could continue.
The lawyers are with the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where one of Jinnah’s sons also is an attorney. Jinnah and his family personally contributed $122,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations that year and held events for Clinton and Boxer at his home.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.