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Criminal Trial for Amazon Consultants Likely Delayed until 2023

Criminal Trial for Amazon Consultants Likely Delayed until 2023

Two defendants joined federal prosecutors in asking for a delay in the criminal trial related to allegations they were involved in a scheme involving bribery of Amazon employees to secure an unfair competitive advantage worth over $100 million, such as getting third-party sellers’ accounts reinstated.

The trial was scheduled for October 24, 2022, and the parties are asking the judge for a February trial date, preferably the 21st, according to Thursday’s filing. Among the reasons cited for the continuance was the sheer volume of discovery (evidence) and the complexity of the case. “Moreover, the discovery contains certain personal information and sensitive material beyond the typical matter” that require special accommodations, according to the parties.

The September 2020 indictment charged 6 people. Of the three who have pleaded guilty, one was sentenced to ten months in prison and two are awaiting sentencing. One defendant is a foreign national and remains a fugitive on the charges.

According to today’s filing for a continuance for the trial the two other defendants:

“This case involves an immense amount of discovery, well beyond the typical matter. The government has produced over 200,000 pages of reports, financial records, warrants, and other materials, and it also has produced large quantities of digital evidence.

“The investigation involved, among other things, searches of more than 50 email and cloud storage accounts held at various online providers and the seizure of more than 75 electronic devices, such as computers, tablets, phones, and storage devices.

“In total, the government has processed and continues to process numerous terabytes of electronic data in this matter. Given the large size, discovery productions have been conducted on a rolling basis and conveyed to counsel for each defendant on external hard drives.

“The United States has provided a substantial amount of data and additional productions are forthcoming.”

It appears a plea deal for the remaining two defendants is not off the table: “Undersigned defense counsel require additional time to review the evidence with their clients, to conduct necessary follow-up investigations, and to retain and consult with experts, in order to provide effective representation. Further, defense counsel and the defendants require additional time to conduct factual and legal inquiries and to determine and consider viable strategies, to include, if appropriate, a possible negotiated resolution.”

Amazon would be among those glad to avoid a trial, as the government said it anticipated calling representatives of the company and various other online service providers to testify in the trial that it said would likely span multiple weeks.

(Innocent until / unless proven guilty)

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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