Hüseyin Korkmaz, a fugitive former deputy police chief and member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), said that he met with the U.S. prosecutors more than 40 times during preparations to be a witness in the Reza Zarrab case.
Korkmaz continued his testimony in the U.S. v. Atilla case on the 12th day. The FETÖ suspect said that he had gone to three countries before moving to the U.S. and has now lived in the country for 10 months. He said that he conducted more than 40 meetings with U.S. prosecutors and the meetings "lasted some days for two hours, sometimes four hours and sometimes longer." He also denied any association with FETÖ.
During the trial, Atilla's lawyers moved for a mistrial in the case regarding the now-lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. In the motion, the defense criticized the U.S. government's "continuous elicitation of inadmissible, confusing and overly prejudicial evidence. … Defendant Atilla was not charged with any crime in Turkey. There was no evidence that he had either paid or received a bribe. He was not involved in many of the activities investigated or described in Court."
Slamming Korkmaz's controversial testimony, the motion also said that Korkmaz has provided "testimonial opinions, conclusion, speculation and recitations derived solely and directly from the overwhelming number of hearsay statements and hearsay documents."
The admission of Korkmaz's testimony violates the "Confrontation Clause of the United States and defies established evidence rules and case law interpreting these rules," Atilla's team said.
"The defendant has been prejudiced to such a degree that the fundamental fairness of the trial has been irreparably undermined," they said, calling for a mistrial as "the only appropriate remedy."
Korkmaz is testifying in Manhattan federal court for U.S. prosecutors in the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy CEO at the majority state-owned Halkbank, who is accused of taking part in a scheme with Iranian-Turkish gold trader Zarrab to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. He has been an important figure in the trial and made contradictory statements, namely for denying while he was in Turkey that he had anything to do with the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 judicial coup attempt perpetrated by FETÖ to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected government, and later after coming to the U.S. saying that he was the investigator in the case with eight officers working under his command.
Zarrab, a Turkish and Iranian dual national, has pleaded guilty and turned state's witness against Atilla, saying he used fraudulent food and gold transactions to launder money for Iran with the help of Atilla and others. Meanwhile Atilla has pleaded not guilty.
Late Tuesday, Adam Klasfeld, a reporter for Courthouse News, said that Korkmaz testified that the FBI gave him $50,000 of "financial assistance," which he said he did not request. Korkmaz, who said he has not been employed in the U.S., also received "help with his rent" from the prosecutor's office, according to his testimony. "I took my wife and my daughter, and I left the country that I dearly love," Korkmaz testified. He said he eventually came to the United States with the help of U.S. law enforcement authorities, bringing audio recordings and other evidence he snuck out of Turkey.