Court Denies Claim of Manufactured Jurisdiction in Case Lacking Physical Contact with the United States

The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2013 - Criminal Law | August.14.2013

United States v. Viglakis, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118919 (S.D.N.Y Aug. 14, 2013)

Defendant Ioannis Viglakis, a Greek national, was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. In various meetings in Europe and Central America, Viglakis allegedly agreed to provide a confidential informant with military-grade weapons that he was told would be used by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (“FARC”) to shoot down American aircraft. In his motion to dismiss the indictment, Viglakis argued that the undercover informant had manufactured jurisdiction by “gratuitously interposing” into their discussions the intended U.S. targets of the weapons, which Viglakis argued was not relevant to the transaction for his purposes. Neither Viglakis nor any of the acts he committed to obtain the weapons had any connection with the United States. The court held that, because Viglakis took numerous steps in furtherance of a crime that he knew was specifically intended to harm Americans and American interests, there was no basis to assert that federal jurisdiction had been manufactured.

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