When the justice system works in a fair manner, as it should, it’s a proud moment for Americans everywhere to behold. But what happens when that same justice system is undermined by the leaders charged to uphold it? For Andrey Kim, it meant the difference between jail time and a home detention sentence.
Andrey Kim had pleaded guilty to his involvement in the mortgage fraud catastrophe dating back to 2006, just before the economic crisis of 2008. 23 years old at the time, he was a loan officer and played a relatively minor part in the scandal.
On Thursday February 20th, Kim was positioned to face a sentence of 13 months jail time, but with the help of his quick witted attorney Tom Johnson and a contentious decision in Washington D.C. earlier that day, Kim’s sentence was reduced to just 13 months home detention.
A team of four prosecutors had initially recommended Roger Stone, a friend and personal advisor of President Donald Trump, to a sentence of seven to nine years for impeding a congressional investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
However, after a tweet from President Trump denouncing the prosecution’s decision as unfair and Attorney General William P. Barr’s direct involvement, the Justice Department reduced Stone’s sentence to just 40 months.
“This is a woman who was an anti-Trump person, totally,” Trump stated in his attack against the lead woman in the prosecution. “Is that a defrauding of the court, you tell me?”
These events incited the original team of prosecutors to quit, one of whom decided to quit government altogether, and a new team of prosecutors were brought in support of the sentence.
Johnson used this controversy as a foothold in order to plead to U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley on his client’s behalf, “We are constantly talking about the guidelines with the government…We’re always told how important those guidelines are, that they are set in stone… As it turns out, in a case 3,000 miles away from here in U.S. v Stone, the U.S. Attorney’s Office there has said that the guidelines are perhaps technically applicable.”
Johnson supported his case further by adding that Kim had grown considerably since the fraud incident and had changed his life around for the better.
Now 36 years old, Kim has obtained a college degree, an engineering job, is married, and has two children. Kim has also cooperated with federal investigators since the offense, testifying in two trials that has led to convictions against three other participants in the fraud crisis.
What followed Johnson’s ardent exhortations for justice on the part of his client, was a reward of a significantly reduced sentence for Kim, as well as an order to pay $284,945.17 in restitution fees for his role in producing fraudulent loan documents.
While not explicitly mentioning the Stone case argument as the reason for his decision, Judge Nunley displayed mercy towards Kim in his ruling.
“I’m going to do something I rarely do. I’m going to give you home detention. You have your whole life ahead of you.”
A triumphant Kim was nothing short of astonished by the decision, giving his attorney a pat on the back and reverberating through the court hallways, “I’m blown away.”
While the Roger Stone case proved to be a more or less blatant disregard for the integrity of the American justice system, this same incident had aided in the redemption of a man who’s poor decisions had been looming over him for a third of his life.
John Rosenbaum is an experienced Orange County attorney that has an extraordinary track record in Personal Injury and Workers Compensation law. If you may be in need of legal counsel, contact our office today.
Featured image by DonkeyHotey