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Federal Judge Tosses ICE Raid Criminal Charge


Federal Judge Tosses ICE Raid Criminal Charge. Declares Mistrial.

  1. After 15 months of criminal prosecution, in a raid involving 400 Federal agents as well as additional State and local law enforcement people, a Federal Judge tossed the Government’s central claim against John Good of Atkinson, Nebraska. The ruling came after 6.5 days of trial in Federal Court, before a jury.

  2. Domina Law Group pc llo and David Domina defended John Good throughout the case.

  3. John Good, a semi-retired businessman from Atkinson, maintained his innocence from the outset through the Court’s ruling.

  4. Good was charged with conspiracy to harbor and engaging in money laundering with two central figures in the investigation.

  5. Throughout the case Good, while maintaining his innocence, asserted that his involvement with the couple began when they were young, with a baby, and moving into the north central Nebraska area where they lived as main street merchants in O’Neill a county seat town in north central Nebraska for nearly two decades.

  6. Good invoked the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as an affirmative defense, arguing that his kindness toward the Defendants was protected on First Amendment grounds. Good did not dispute that he helped the couple purchase a home more than decade ago. He bought the home and sold it to them on contract, they paid for it.

  7. Good also helped the couple start a highly popular community Mexican restaurant, which became the largest and most popular restaurant in the area.

  8. Good’s involvement in the restaurant was to obtain the liquor license, restaurant license, and to provide startup funds for the restaurant. He maintained and remained the owner, and though the restaurant did not make money, the Government claimed his ownership was a shame.

  9. The Government claimed that the couple engaged in money laundering by hiring illegal persons and providing them to area employers through a staffing agency. The Government charged this amount to illegal money laundering and illegal employment.

  10. On November 13, at the end of the Government’s evidence against Mr. Good and two co-defendants, US District Judge John M. Gerrard sustained a Motion by David Domina, Mr. Good’s lawyer to dismiss the money laundering charge because “No reasonable jury could find guilt based on the absence of proof against Mr. Good.” Presiding Judge John M. Gerrard agreed, noting that it “wasn’t even close” on the question of whether the Government proved a money laundering case.

  11. The Judge also noted that if the jury were to believe all the Government’s evidence, the jury might find that Mr. Good was involved in harboring. Accordingly, Motions to Dismiss those charges were denied, but the judge declared a mistrial on those charges.

  12. Two other Defendants in the case attacked the couple helped by Mr. Good as bad actors. Mr. Good’s defense involved his view of the couple as friends.

  13. Mr. Good is entitled to a trial to a jury that hears and appreciates his defense in which he is not attacked by other Defendants. Similarly the other Defendants are entitled to a trial in which they choose as their trial tactic, to attack the couple helped by Mr. Good in an effort to try to shield themselves. Since the two defenses were completely inconsistent the Judge concluded Mr. Good is entitled to a new trial on the remaining charges.

  14. Courtroom observers reported perceiving skepticism about the entirety Government’s case.

  15. Mr. Domina commented for Mr. Good after the trial:

    “John is of course relieved that the money laundering charge is dismissed. He continues to maintain that he did nothing but engage in decades old acts of kindness toward a young couple whom he legitimately thought were documented and lawfully in the United States. He continued to believe in the young couple and new nothing of their staffing businesses or any involvement with any illegal persons”

    Domina continued that:

    “If the Government persists in proceeding with its case, Mr. Good will put on a very strong defense to the remaining charges.”

  16. Domina was complimentary of the professionalism of the officials in the US Attorney’s Office who prosecuted the case.
    “The prosecutors have been professionally appropriate with me throughout the entire case and I have done my best reciprocate.”

  17. US Attorney’s Office stated it will make a decision in the future about any re-trial of Mr. Good.

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