The Kingdom Con Fraud Case – What Does It Take to Get a Trial Moved Out of State?

Joe: 106.7 WIZN. It’s the Eagles, and one of these nights heard AC/DC and Money Talks before that. I’m Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday “Rocking Ride Home.” Called my friend Ben Berry from Martin, Harding and Mazzotti to talk about this Kingdom Con case and the possibility of it being moved out of state. Ben, welcome back.

Ben: Joe, thanks for having me.

Joe: So, Ben, we’re talking today about the Kingdom Con, which, of course, refers to the EB-5 scandal, which happened at Jay Peak in the Northeast Kingdom and the Miami businessman, Ariel Quiros, who’s on trial for fraud or about to go on trial, his lawyers are trying to have that trial moved out of state due to what they call inflammatory pre-trial publicity. And I just wanted to get your take on exactly what it takes to get a trial moved out of state.

Ben: Sure. There are a lot of reasons people can ask the court to move their trial to some other court. Generally speaking, in federal court, there’s actually a statue, Section 1404 that allows a party, either a plaintiff or a defendant. Usually, it’s the defendant that would be asking to change the venue and they can do that for the convenience of the parties. Maybe the plaintiff and the defendant both say, “Yeah, you know what? We should be trying this case in Arizona because it’s most convenient for us, or because it’s convenient in the sense that all the witnesses live in Arizona.”

So that’s one reason, the convenience of the parties and usually the parties will agree to that, and they’ll submit that to the court and the court will approve it. Or sometimes one of the parties is saying, “Well, look, in the interest of justice,” which is what we’re talking about right now with this particular case, “there’s some reason that justice demands that the trial be held somewhere else.”

There’s people outside the courtroom with pitchforks and torches and there’s just too much public resentment for the case. We’ll never get a fair trial. There’s just too much going on here. In this case, you know, the publicity of the case and the state legislatures that are, I think, what they’re alleging are involved but have turned the public perception on its end.

And so the defendants are saying, “Hey, look, we’re not going to get a fair trial here. In the interest of justice, we should really be moving this somewhere where… And a court can be objective and impartial. And we don’t have to deal with all of this other stuff that can confuse the facts of the case and can confuse what’s really going on and whether or not there’s really something criminal at foot or something that would rise to level of civil liability.”

So there’s a lot of different reasons that people can ask for the venue to be changed. Again, convenience is rarely in the case, but in the interest of justice is often sort of where a lot of gray area is involved and a lot of impassioned pleas to the court will be made saying, “I can never have a fair trial here.” And that’s what’s going on with this particular case.

Joe: Right now, just real quick. I know you don’t know a whole lot about this trial, but what do you think the odds are that they do get it moved out of state?

Ben: I think there’s an opportunity for the argument to be made, but I think it’s unlikely.

Joe: All right. Well, thanks for your take on that, Ben Berry from Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti.

Ben: Joe, thank you for calling.

Joe: You can call Ben at any time at 1800LAW1010 or go online to I’m Joe Vegas. Here so long. I’m getting on out here. Turn things over to Mel Allen now is getting music from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Heart, next.