On September 7, 2021, almost two weeks after being convicted of scheming to avoid paying nearly $2 billion in customs’ duties, six businesses moved for acquittal of all charges and a new trial. The motions are based partly on a possible lack of an impartial jury due to racial, ethnic bias or bias against China and Chinese nationals and on the Court’s decision not to read the in-camera jury instructions, according to court documents.

The United States government subsequently submitted opposition to the defendants’ motions.

On August 23, the Department of Justice explained “The jury found the following two aluminum businesses and four warehousing companies – all of which were related to one another – guilty of one count of conspiracy, nine counts of wire fraud and seven counts of passing false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse:

  • Perfectus Aluminium Inc., an Ontario-based business;
  • Perfectus Aluminium Acquisitions LLC, a subsidiary of Perfectus Aluminium formed in 2014 to oversee several companies that received aluminum pallets shipped to the United States after duties were imposed on Chinese aluminum in 2011;
  • Scuderia Development LLC, which owns a warehouse in Riverside;
  • 1001 Doubleday LLC, which owns a warehouse in Ontario;
  • Von Karman – Main Street LLC, which owns a warehouse in Irvine;
  • 10681 Production Avenue LLC, which owns a warehouse in Fontana.

The two Perfectus companies also were found guilty of seven additional counts of international promotional money laundering.”

After the conviction, the defendants filed two separate motions. One motion for the Court is to “set aside the jury’s verdict and enter an acquittal on each and every count charged against them, on the grounds that the government has failed to prove all of the essential elements of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The other stated a motion “for a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, on the grounds that there was no unanimous jury finding on the object of the conspiracy; constructive amendment of the Indictment occurred; the jury was not instructed as to any theory of defense jury instructions and were improperly instructed on a question of fact; and no voir dire questions on racial or ethnic bias or bias against China and Chinese nationals were asked that would have ensured an impartial jury.”

Last week, the U.S. filed oppositions for both motions.

Documents filed by the defendants stated “on October 18, 2021 at 1:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard, by and through their attorneys of record, will and hereby do move this Court”  to act on both motions.