Attorney Van Vliet filed the request Monday, May 16, 2022, following a request to revoke bond by Assistant US Attorney Frederic X. Shadley.
US prosecutors have said in court documents that Hon Fahie is a flight risk but, according to the 11-page response filed by Van Vliet, the court’s conditions of release are more than adequate to ensure he’ll appear in court.
“The Government argues that Mr Fahie has a “compelling reason” to flee. Mr Fahie has, in fact, a more compelling reason to fight these allegations wherever they are mounted. Simply by virtue of this arrest and the Government’s allegations, he has been stripped of his position as the Premier of the BVI,” Van Vliet wrote.
Assistant US Attorney Shadley has asked the court to keep Hon Fahie jailed while he awaits trial for conspiracy to import cocaine and launder money. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence and the possibility of life in prison.
Hon Fahie has been jailed since his arrest on April 28, 2022, at a Miami airport. He was granted $500,000 bond and conditions of release at a detention hearing on May 4, 2022, but that order has been stayed pending an appeal by prosecutors.
Van Vliet stated that the US Government contends that it has established that her client is a risk of flight as well as a danger to the community and, not surprisingly, the Government touts as gospel its version of the events and what transpired during the referenced meeting.
“In doing so, however, the Government’s representations gild the lily based on the scantly available direct evidence.”
The attorney also said the US Government claims that Hon Fahie is charged with a crime “involving thousands of kilograms of cocaine and millions of dollars.”
“That statement is not accurate as it suggests that such cocaine or monies actually existed. This arrest is a result of a ruse and a sting operation. To be sure, conspiracy to violate such laws can exist even where there is no cocaine or money. Yet, as he stands before the Court he is presumed innocent, a presumption that cannot be understated nor disproven until the Government produces its evidence,” Van Vliet argued.
She also highlighted that the US Government touts Hon Fahie’s travel record as evidence of his predisposition to flee from prosecution. “This ignores, as the Government well knows, the fact that the overwhelming majority of such travel, primarily in the Caribbean, was related to official business undertaken by Mr. Fahie in his previous role as the Premier of the BVI,” Van Vliet responded.
Van Vliet also said that the claim of jurisdictional immunity has been misrepresented by the press and prosecutors and that Hon Fahie has never sought immunity from prosecution as represented by the US government.
“The Government, without evidence, asserts that there are persons in Mr Fahie’s “orbit” who are willing to “procure his freedom from prosecution.” This is, at best, an outrageous claim for the Government to make based, exclusively, on a press report.
In addition to the $500,000 bond, Hon Fahie is to be under house arrest and reside with his two daughters, both of whom are United States citizens, at their rented apartment in the Southern District of Florida.
According to Van Vliet, both of Hon Fahie’s daughters were required to surrender all travel documents and did not travel to the Virgin Islands to attend their aunt’s (Hon Fahie’s sister) funeral; however, his wife was permitted to travel for the purposes of her employment.
Van Vliet added that Hon Fahie is to remain on 24-hour lockdown at his daughters’ residence and is to wear a GPS monitor device with exceptions only for medical needs, court appearances and consultation with counsel.
The court rejected Hon Fahie’s request to be permitted to be relieved from lockdown for purposes of attending religious services.
According to Van Vliet, Hon Fahie has the “most restrictive bond possible and noted that the Government attempts to diminish the tie that Hon Fahie has to the jurisdiction, in saying that his daughters are merely attending online college and postgraduate courses.
“In truth, the fact that each will not be required to attend classes in Pennsylvania but rather are required by the conditions of their father’s bond to stay in the United States underscores the ties to this community.
“The Government ignores entirely that both children are citizens of the United States. The Government, oddly, makes short shrift of the ties that a parent has with his children. As noted during the detention hearing there are fewer stronger bonds, if any.”
She also noted that it was said at the detention hearing that Hon Fahie would have to flee to a destination other than the [British] Virgin Islands to avoid prosecution, which would essentially deprive him of any family connections.
Van Vliet concluded that Hon Fahie’s bond, under the stringent conditions imposed, are more than sufficient to assure his appearance and, given the current state of Covid restrictions at the Federal detention Centre in Miami, are critical to being able to prepare a defense to this case with all deliberate speed.
Meanwhile, Hon Fahie is scheduled to appear before the Honorable Kathleen Williams, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, on May 19, 2022, at 9:00 am.