By Brandi Buchman
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Courthouse News) — Just hours into deliberations on July 23, a jury found a former business partner of convicted ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn guilty of acting as an illegal lobbyist for the Turkish government.
Bijan Kian, 66-year-old Iranian-American businessman who also goes by Bijan Rafiekian, was found guilty of conspiracy and failure to register as a foreign agent.
The charges stemmed from lobbying work done by Kian and Flynn in 2016 aimed at discrediting Fethullah Gulen, a cleric Turkish President Recep Erdogan has blamed for a failed coup against him.
Jurors deliberated for less than six hours at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite their guilty verdict, US District Judge Anthony Trenga indicated last week he may acquit Kian on both charges due to a lack of evidence.
As vice chairman of Flynn’s Alexandria-based consulting firm Flynn Intel Group, prosecutors claimed Kian helped hide work on a secret lobbying campaign that ran from September to November 2016.