Kurniawan seeks to exclude FBI evidence

13th September, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Alleged wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan’s defence lawyers have asked US federal district judge Richard Berman to exclude evidence obtained in an FBI search of Kurniawan’s LA home.

Rudy

According to the Wine Spectator, Kurniawan is working to have evidence of a laboratory for counterfeit wines in his home excluded from his trial.

His lawyers are due to contest the legality of an FBI search of his Los Angeles home after his arrest in an LA suburb in March.

Kurniawan appeared at a hearing in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Tuesday wearing khaki prison clothing and blue tennis shoes, the Wine Spectator reports.

At the hearing, Berman set a schedule for filings by the two sides, which will culminate on 14 November in the defense’s expected motion to suppress the results of the FBI’s search.

During the search, agents found a home laboratory dedicated to wine counterfeiting filled with thousands of fake labels dating back to 1899, including all the Bordeaux first growths and fine Burgundies such as Domaine Ponsot.

The home operation was fitted out with hundreds of used corks, foil capsules and hardened wax which, when heated, could seal the mouths of bottles.

Fine wine labels, including Lafite and Pétrus, found at Kurniawan’s house during the FBI search

There were also hundreds of rubber stamps for vintage dates, ranging from Château Latour 1899 to Screaming Eagle 1992, and stencils to imprint the names of famous wine estates on wooden cases.

According to a source close to the defense, FBI agents had an arrest warrant but not a search warrant when they entered Kurniawan’s house on 8 March.

Having looked around his LA home on the day of his arrest, only later did the agents return to Kurniawan’s house with a search warrant, the source states.

“It’s one thing if you search a person, or a car, but a person’s home is sacrosanct. If our motion is granted, and evidence is suppressed, it’s a whole different case,” the defence source told the Wine Spectator.

“Our motion is being made to ensure that the constitution is being honoured in the letter and spirit in this case. Other than that, we will let our court papers do the talking,” Kurniawan’s lead attorney Michael Proctor said of suppressing the search.

Kurniawan is currently being held without bail at a Brooklyn federal detention facility.

One Response to “Kurniawan seeks to exclude FBI evidence”

  1. Robert Barton says:

    Mmm, you would have thought an arrest warrant would have included (for want of a better word) a search warrant.
    The American legal system is really something!

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