A jury in Washington today acquitted two businessmen in a high-profile foreign bribery case that has proven a difficult case for the U.S. Justice Department.
John Godsey, an attorney in Atlanta, and R. Patrick Caldwell, a former U.S. Secret Service official, were found not guilty on charges they violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Prosecutors charged Godsey and Caldwell in a scheme with 20 other executives and employees in the arms and law enforcement equipment industry. The prosecution stemmed from a two-year undercover sting in which agents pitched a fake $15 million equipment deal involving the sale of goods to the African nation of Gabon.
The jury deliberated for seven days following a trial that lasted for more than three months.
“Justice has prevailed. We believe this case should never have been brought in the first place,” said Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe litigation partner Michael Madigan, who represents Godsey. “We are very gratified with the result.”
Caldwell’s lawyer, Eric Dubelier, a Reed Smith partner in Washington, was not immediately reached for comment.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon today told the jurors to continue discussing the charges against the remaining three defendants who are still on trial.
The not guilty verdict marked yet another blow for prosecutors, who have struggled to mount a successful case. Leon recently dismissed the conspiracy charge against the defendants who are on trial now.
Last summer, a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict with another set of defendants. Trials for others charged in the conspiracy are set for the coming months.